Sometimes, the time after a divorce can be just as stressful as the actual divorce process. While you’re trying to establish new life habits and patterns, your ex-spouse may not be complying with the terms of the divorce, creating a fresh set of stressful situations.
The challenge is getting your ex to follow the terms of the original divorce decree. When your divorce was finalized, the judge handling your case issued a decree defining the terms. It covered the division of property, individual requirements, and any child-related obligations (if you have children through your marriage).
But if your spouse fails to comply with the judge’s ruling, you may need the court to intervene to enforce the original order. To support your position, it’s best to work with a family law attorney to help your cause. Learn more about a motion to enforce divorce decree Texas residents can use.
When the Court Will Intervene to Enforce a Divorce Order
The court might act if your ex is ignoring the final decree of divorce in any way. Mainly, the court will act when you or your children are suffering because of your ex’s actions. Some of the common reasons the court will act are that your ex-spouse:
- Won’t pay child support or spousal support
- Has primary custody and won’t let you see your child
- Refused to sell marital property as ordered
- Hid money from you or unlawfully cut off your access to an account
These are the types of actions that cause harm to you and your child. And the court will not look kindly on any action that is not in your child’s best interest.
What to Do if Your Ex Isn’t Obeying the Divorce Decree
If you believe that your former spouse is violating the terms of the decree, your first step should be to consult with a family law lawyer about what to do. Even if you don’t take legal action going through the court, your lawyer can help you proactively address the situation. After speaking to a lawyer, take the following steps.
Talk to Your Ex Informally
Sometimes, your ex is not following the decree because of an honest mistake. For example, your ex might think they have custody on a certain holiday, and they mistakenly violated the child custody agreement when it was not their time to see the children. You might be able to correct simple errors like this with a conversation reminding them of their visitation rights.
However, if the violation of the decree appears to be intentional, you still might be able to fix the situation by talking with your ex. You can explain to them that you know they are breaking the decree and that you are willing to go to court if needed. This might be enough to convince your ex to correct their behavior.
If you are concerned that this type of conversation might not be safe or it might create more stress than you are willing to deal with, your lawyer can be present during the conversation.
You need to show the court that your ex is ignoring their obligations outlined in the decree. This means you need to gather strong evidence:
- Keep records of all receipts that involve financial obligations.
- Hold onto any email or text messages they send you.
- Maintain a log of any missed payments or child visits.
Some evidence will be difficult to obtain because you may need to contact a bank or your ex’s employer. A family law attorney can help you gather evidence in a manner that does not create further difficulties.
File a Contempt Motion With the Court
Once you have collected the evidence, you need to let the court know about the actions of your ex. One way you can do this is by filing a contempt motion with the court to alert them about a violation that requires a judge’s review. Your attorney can help you file a suit to request enforcement of the order.
Filing a motion for contempt means the court can penalize your ex for breaking the terms of the divorce decree. If the court decides your ex has broken those terms, the judge may find your ex in contempt of court and assign penalties. These are usually last-resort options, though. The judge would prefer that your ex start following the decree and make up for any past actions.
What to Expect During a Legal Hearing
During the hearing, the judge will question you about your claims. Your attorney will be present and can help you during the hearing. You also will need to be present when the judge makes their ruling on your motion to enforce the divorce decree.
Generally, the judge will award you compensation for any past violations of the order. This includes:
- Overdue child support from ignoring child support orders
- Overdue spousal maintenance
- Compensation for expenses you paid for that your ex should have
- Other compensation for a failure to comply
The court may also modify the divorce decree to support you and your children. Finally, the judge will likely order stronger safeguards to ensure your ex obeys the divorce decree in the future.
Never Let Your Ex Get Away With Breaking a Divorce Decree
The most important thing to remember about your divorce decree is that it is a legal court order that must be followed. When your ex breaks the rules, they are violating the law. If you don’t act, they may continue to follow their own rules.
As soon as your ex breaks any part of the divorce decree, consult with a family law lawyer about an enforcement action. Perhaps the problem can be fixed with just a polite conversation. Or maybe you will need to file a motion to enforce a divorce decree in Texas. Your attorney will direct you to the right response.
Motion to Enforce Divorce Decree Texas: Find Legal Help to Protect Your Rights
It’s time to act if your ex-spouse violates a judge’s divorce order. The attorneys at Parker & Aguilar can help you find the best solution for your situation.
We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, reach out to our offices to discuss your divorce situation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.
You can reach our offices at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with one of our caring attorneys. We are ready to help you learn more about a motion to enforce divorce decree Texas residents can use to their advantage.