The road to a finalized divorce is a difficult one. Unfortunately, things do not automatically fall into place after the divorce decree is entered. Many people struggle with a former spouse who fails to follow the terms of the final divorce agreement. If this has happened for you, an experienced divorce attorney can help explore your enforcement options.
Divorce Agreement Violations
A judgment or decree entered by a family court judge is legally binding on all parties. Essentially, this means that the failure of either party to uphold the terms of the agreement is unlawful.. If your former spouse has violated their legal obligation to adhere to the terms of the divorce agreement, you have several options of how to proceed.
First, depending on the nature of the violation, you may want to consider working with your former spouse to have the terms of the divorce agreement changed. There are a number of reasons you might want to work with your former spouse on something like this. You may have children that you still need to co-parent and cooperating with your former spouse is needed to maintain an amicable relationship necessary to effectively co-parent. You may also want to avoid the stress of having to repeatedly go back to court to seek enforcement of the divorce agreement terms. Your former spouse may have experienced job loss or a substantial change in financial circumstances that make the original agreement unworkable. Whatever the reason, it might be a good idea to consider changing the terms of the divorce agreement.
If you cannot agree on changing the terms of the divorce agreement, you can go to court to seek enforcement. Potential penalties assessed by the court for violating the agreement l are designed to pressure the former spouse to comply with the original terms of the agreement. The court may order:
- Wage garnishment
- Seizing tax returns
- Driver’s license suspension
- Suspension of professional licenses
Additionally, the court may order your former spouse to pay your attorney’s fees and expenses associated with having to bring them back into court. If the violation of the divorce agreement was something that interfered with your child visitation or rights to parenting time, the court may grant you additional time to make up for the lost time.
For particularly egregious violations or repeat offenses, you may seek to have your former spouse held in contempt of court. This could result in jail time. It is worth noting, however, that the courts are reluctant to go this far since the non-paying spouse will be unable to earn the income needed to fulfill his or her financial obligations.
Protecting Your Rights Before, During, and After Divorce
The actual divorce proceedings are only part of the greater divorce process. There are things that need to be done before and after the final divorce decree has been entered. At M&A Law, Firm, P.C., we will protect your rights the whole way. We proudly serve Cook County and Skokie, Illinois. Get in touch with us today.