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What can I do if My Ex Will Not Follow the Court Order?

Going through a divorce can be a long and arduous process. When the procedure finally comes to an end and the judge issues an order, you expect that your former spouse will follow it. But what happens when your ex does not obey the court’s orders? There are some things you can do to facilitate a resolution. For example, you might be able to prove that your spouse is in contempt of the court order.

What is Contempt?

Contempt simply means that a person is deliberately or intentionally not following a court order. If the other party is found to be in contempt, he or she could face fees, jail time, and might even have to pay your legal fees. The first step is to file a contempt motion. You can do this with help from your family law attorney. There may be several ways that a person might be in contempt of the court order.

The most common way that a person disobeys a court order is by failing to pay child support. Other times the former spouse did not reimburse you for expenses you incurred on behalf of the child. For example, if the order requires the other parent to reimburse you for half of your child’s expenses, as is a common practice, the parent may be in contempt. You will need to prove to the court that you incurred the expenses and that you presented the expense request to the other parent and the other parent refused to pay.

What Will Happen to My Former Spouse?

Many people resist filing a contempt motion because they do not want to harm the other parent. While this is understandable, you need to remember that the payments that your former spouse was supposed to make were for the benefit of your child. Your child deserves the financial support from both parents. Your ex could face some consequences if found in contempt, but there is a way he or she might avoid jail time. The party may request a purge at the hearing. A purge allows the party to comply with specific conditions to prevent a jail sentence. If the party meets the requirements set forth by the judge, the matter will be resolved without further penalty.

In addition to requiring the parent to make the specified payments, the judge may also order the party to pay your legal fees. The amount of the fees varies based on the particular case and the judge would determine whether the order is appropriate.

It is necessary for you to keep accurate records and hold receipts to prove a case of contempt. If you fail to have the necessary documentation, the judge may not find the other party in contempt, and you could end up without the resolution you expected. An experienced family law attorney will help you with your case. If your former spouse realizes that you are serious about collecting the funds, he or she may comply voluntarily before further action is needed. Contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss the details of your case today.

Published October 14, 2019
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