My Ex Is Not Following Our Illinois Divorce Decree. What Are My Options?
Most spouses sincerely hope that the moment they receive their divorce decree, problems with their ex will improve. Although in many cases this is true, for some people, finalizing their divorce is only the beginning of further legal battles. Divorce decrees are legally binding - meaning that to violate the terms of the divorce decree is to break the law - but that does not stop people from simply choosing not to hold up their end of the deal. When this means not paying spousal support or child support, this can have serious consequences for a family. If your former spouse has decided not to follow your divorce decree, read on to learn more about your options for enforcement.
What is Considered a Violation?
For someone to violate a divorce decree, there must be a current, valid court order. Even if you were never married, having a court-ordered parenting agreement and child support order is crucial for ensuring you get the help you need. A verbal agreement between two people is not legally enforceable.
Next, your ex must be willfully and meaningfully violating the order. A one-time, accidental violation, such as forgetting to send a child support payment on time but sending it a few days later, would be insufficient to take legal action.
What Can I Do?
You will need to arrange an ex parte meeting with a judge. Your ex will not be present at this meeting. The judge will examine your arguments, look at any evidence, and decide whether your ex might be violating the terms of your divorce decree. If the judge decides there is merit to your case, the case then proceeds to trial. Your ex will get a chance to present their own argument and explain why they violated the decree. There is no jury in an Illinois family law court; the judge will hear arguments from both sides, determine whether anyone violated the divorce decree, and hand down a punishment if appropriate.
The consequences of violating a divorce decree depend on the nature of the violation, whether it is a repeat violation, and whether the offender shows any willingness to come into compliance with the law. More serious cases may require fines, wage garnishments, revoked driver’s licenses, jail time, and more. The more serious punishments are usually reserved for parents who refuse to pay court-ordered child support, despite having the ability to do so.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Batavia, IL Divorce Lawyer
Dealing with a spouse who refuses to abide by the terms of your divorce decree can be maddening. Fortunately, you have the law on your side. With the help of an experienced Batavia, IL divorce decree enforcement attorney, you can do everything in your power to bring your spouse into compliance. To schedule a free initial consultation, call the Law Office of Van A. Larson, P.C. today at 630-879-9090.