Protecting Your Family's Future

How to Enforce a Divorce Decree

It was stressful. You worked hard for it. You managed to navigate a divorce decree that anticipated almost everything – except the fact that your ex is not adhering to the rules set forth in the judgment. Now what do you do?

First, you create a file that will document any papers relating to your ex’s breaking the divorce decree. Note in a journal or diary all the ways, including the dates and times, that the support or custody order or any other aspect of the divorce decree is not being followed.

You are preparing a file that will prove how your ex violated the divorce decree. This will aid you or your attorney when you file a contempt of court motion against your ex. This contempt of court is exactly how it sounds. It’s a filing that says your ex is in contempt, or disregarding, the court’s order regarding your divorce decree. Without proof, you can’t win this.

It is possible to subpoena, or summon, witnesses to support your claims. Your attorney or the court office can help with this. However, try to avoid involving your children in this process as witnesses as that can be incredibly traumatizing for them.

Finally, the court will have a hearing in which both sides will share their side of the story. The judge will decide if the evidence oyu have presented is enough to hold the other party in contempt. Generally, the judge will order what the ex needs to do to get out of contempt. For instance, if the ex is behind on support payments, they will generally get a workable time period to pay off back payments. However, if the ex has money and a job and does not follow the judge’s orders, he or she can be jailed till they are willing to pay up.

With regard to custody and visitation issues, it is a bit more of a challenge, but you can still bring your ex to court for failing to adhere to the child custody and visitation agreement. But the law has no teeth, because the judge can’t jail your ex for not following the visitation agreements, for example. However, if your ex has custody and is not adhering to the rules of the custody agreement, it might be possible to reopen the custody issue entirely, especially if your ex is acting unreasonable and this has been shown from your records to be a consistent pattern that seems aimed at alienating you from your child or taking vengeance upon you by depriving you from seeing your child during proscribed visiting times.

Custody, Divorce, Post-Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in issues relating to enforcing a divorce decree, child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about any family law matter, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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Stewart Law PLLC