For many couples who are seeking a divorce, reaching a divorce settlement is the most difficult part of the process. Indeed, divorce battles can be drawn out, expensive, and highly emotional. The good news is, however, that once a divorce judgment has been issued by the court, each party is legally required to comply with the terms of the divorce decree. If your ex-spouse isn’t complying with the terms of the decree, you have legal options. Here’s a look into what you need to know about enforcement of a divorce court order–
Step 1: Talk to Your Ex-Spouse
At the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., we always recommend taking a non-combative approach to resolving an issue first. Indeed, before you file a motion with the court against your ex, you should contact him or her and ask what’s going on. Sure, sometimes an individual will renege on the terms of the divorce simply because they don’t feel like complying, but other times, they are unable to meet the terms for whatever reason. For example, perhaps your ex lost his or her job and is struggling to make ends meet, let alone pay alimony (maintenance).
By speaking with your ex, you may be able to find a solution that works for both of you, like petitioning the court for a modification of a divorce judgment together. Not only is talking to your ex-spouse first the more amicable approach, but also the least expensive one.
Step 2: Hire a Lawyer
If just talking to your ex-spouse and reminding them of their court-ordered obligation or/and reaching an agreement about how to proceed isn’t effective, the next step should be to contact an experienced family law attorney who has worked on enforcement cases in the past. An attorney can review the details of your case and provide you with legal advice regarding your options for enforcement. Additionally, informing your ex that you’ve hired an attorney may be enough to motivate them to adhere to your order.
Step 3: Ask the Court to Get Involved
Finally, your third option if the two above have not been successful is to ask the court to get involved in your case and to enforce the court order. In Illinois, a party does this by filing a petition for rule to show cause. This petition essentially asks the court to hold the defaulting party in contempt, and to take action to enforce the court order as such.
Our Family Law Attorneys Are Here to Help
Our Naperville family law attorneys at the office of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. understand how frustrating it is to have your ex violate the terms of your divorce decree. If you have questions about enforcement of a court order, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can represent you whether you are the party who needs to enforce the order, or the party who is breaching the order.