Finalizing a divorce is often not the end of the story for formerly married couples. Ideally, both parties would follow the terms of the divorce decree, fulfill their obligations, and live their new life post-marriage. However, it’s typical for problems to arise that complicate matters.
One party might not be happy with the terms of the divorce, and another party might be upset about how the divorce played out or how they were portrayed in court. Either way, this can lead to an unwillingness to comply with the terms of the divorce in order to make a point.
If you are in a situation where your former spouse is not cooperating, then you might have questions about what to do when your ex does not comply with your divorce decree. Fortunately, you have legal options in Texas to enforce the terms of the divorce. Let’s examine.
5 Actions to Take When Your Ex Does Not Comply With the Divorce Decree
I understand that it can be very frustrating when your ex-spouse is not following the terms of the divorce – whether intentionally or unintentionally. I recommend taking the following actions to help rectify the situation so that you can get back to living your life.
1. Attempt to Reason with Your Ex
Are you still on speaking terms with your ex-spouse? Before going back through the legal process to enforce the original divorce order, you can try to reason with your former spouse to comply with the divorce terms.
Try to have this conversation in a neutral environment. For example, if you have children through the marriage, don’t bring up your observations about non-compliance when you are exchanging the kids during the other parent’s scheduled parenting time. This can bring up negative emotions if your ex-spouse is caught off-guard or feels attacked.
Instead, look for an opportunity to have an adult conversation when everyone is ready to discuss the situation. If this doesn’t work out, then it’s time to consider advancing to the legal process.
2. Gather Evidence About Non-Compliance
Filing a motion to enforce a court order is a serious legal matter that will incur additional costs. I encourage you to carefully consider whether you have exhausted every opportunity to reason with your ex-spouse. If you have and nothing has worked, then the court system is available to support your cause.
To start the legal process of enforcing the divorce order, ensure you gather clear and compelling proof that your ex-spouse is not complying with the divorce decree.
- Match up evidence against specific language in the court order.
- Ensure that evidence is not speculative but actual proof.
- Make records of any communication (e.g., phone calls, voice mails, texts, etc.) that support your argument.
- Log instances of non-compliance (capture specific dates, times, and locations).
3. Talk to a Family Law Attorney
Once you have gathered preliminary evidence that supports your argument, I recommend that you reach out to a family law attorney such as myself to discuss your findings.
I can review the evidence with you, analyze the situation from a legal perspective to confirm your argument, and help you advance to the next step of taking formal legal action to enforce the original order.
I’ll also provide you with guidance on additional information and evidence you need to gather that I know from experience the court will request. This will help strengthen your argument when you appear in court.
4. File a Motion to Enforce the Divorce Decree
Next, I’ll help you with the process of filing a motion to enforce the original divorce decree. You will need to file this request in the county where the divorce was finalized.
Once you complete the appropriate paperwork and pay the filing fee, the court will review your request and ensure that your motion is worthy of a hearing. Then, a court date will be set for both parties to appear in court to review the motion and present arguments.
Before the court hearing takes place, I will continue to work with you to refine your arguments and formulate the appropriate responses to questions you will be asked in court. This will help you present information in a clear, concise manner that is free of what could be interpreted as spite toward your ex-spouse.
5. Enforce the Original Court Order
I will serve as your legal advocate throughout the entire process of seeking to enforce the terms of the original divorce decree.
If the court rules in your favor, then your ex-spouse will be legally compelled to comply with the terms of the divorce. Otherwise, your former spouse could be held in contempt of court and face penalties or fines.
Additionally, the court might introduce sanctions against your ex-spouse based on the severity of non-compliance – such as changes to the visitation schedule with your children – in order to deter future non-compliance.
Find Expert Support to Enforce a Divorce Decree
The aftermath of a divorce can be difficult, especially if your ex refuses to follow the terms of the divorce agreement. If you feel like you have no choice but to go back through the legal system to enforce the original order, then I will support you on this path.
I currently help parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with enforcements. If you live in one of these counties, then reach out to me for support. I will do everything in my power to help you arrive at the best possible outcome.
Call my offices today at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to schedule a consultation. I’ll further unpack your options when your ex does not comply with your divorce decree and help you get started on the legal process. I’m here to help!