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What to Do When Your Former Spouse Is Defying a Divorce Settlement

Posted on in Complex Property Litigation

TX divorce lawyerDivorce proceedings can be time-consuming and emotional, so many couples breathe a sigh of relief when they are able to successfully negotiate a settlement out of court. Unfortunately, just because parties have agreed to a settlement, does not mean that the other party will comply with its terms. This is especially true in cases where a settlement is the result of a court order and not negotiations between the parties. A failure to abide by a settlement agreement can have devastating consequences, particularly when high assets are involved, as one party’s intransigence could lead to significant assets being tied up and made inaccessible for years. This, in turn, can make it difficult to make ends meet, pay bills, and generally, move on with your life, so if your former spouse is defying all or part of your divorce settlement agreement, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help ensure that the terms of your agreement are respected.

The Terms of a High Asset Divorce Settlement

While some former spouses may refuse to comply with a court order out of bitterness, most are simply unable to do so. This is especially common when it comes to a failure to pay child support or alimony and the non-paying party was recently let go or fired from his or her job. Alternatively, a party could be failing to comply with a custody order because his or her work schedule conflicts with that arrangement, or because he or she is struggling with health issues. Whatever the reason, in these cases, it is up to that party to seek a modification of the order. Otherwise, they will be subject to the legal repercussions of failing to comply with the terms of a court order.

Contempt of Court

If an ex-spouse is failing to abide by the terms of a divorce settlement and does not seek a modification of the order, the other party can take a number of different actions. For instance, as soon as a judge approves a settlement, the parties are strongly encouraged to begin documenting the other’s actions, as this can constitute proof at a later date of a pattern of non-compliance. At this point, those whose spouses are not abiding by the terms of a settlement have the option of filing a contempt of court order against the other party.

When filing a motion to enforce a divorce settlement, the petitioner is required to include certain information, such as an explanation of the other party’s noncompliance and what type of relief is being requested. If the case involves a claim of a failure to pay child support, the petitioner will also need to include the amount that the other party has failed to pay. If a petition is successful and a judge determines that the respondent is in contempt of court, the judge could order that the other spouse’s wages be garnished or that his or her custody rights be removed. In some cases, a party could even be sentenced to jail for noncompliance.

Contact a High Asset Divorce Lawyer

If your spouse is not complying with a divorce order, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC to speak with an experienced Leander high asset divorce attorney. We are eager to begin helping you with your case.



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