Many couples who have been through a divorce understand how difficult the process can be. Even though the courts declare that all matters of the marriage will be separated equitably, one or both of the ex-spouses might be dissatisfied with the divorce order. However, it is important to understand that the divorce order is legally enforced by the court.
No matter how you or your ex-spouse feel about the obligations laid out in the divorce order, they are mandatory and you both signed off on them. If your ex-spouse refuses to follow the final divorce order, you can seek the help of a San Antonio divorce attorney at Grable Grimshaw, PLLC, to enforce the court order.
How the court establishes divorce orders
During a divorce proceeding, the court will issue a divorce order. The divorce order is a court order that helps outline the responsibilities of each partner when it comes to each aspect of the dissolved marriage. These responsibilities include everything from property division to child custody arrangements. Regardless of how one or both spouses feel about the divorce agreement, they must be followed once the order is final. That means that if your ex-spouse outright refuses to follow the divorce order, they have committed a violation against the court.
Matters determined in a San Antonio divorce order
Your divorce is not final until the divorce order is signed and filed with the court. For the divorce order to be final, you and your ex-spouse must come to an agreement about all of the properties and responsibilities that you two once shared. These can include:
- Parental rights
- Division of properties
- Child support payments
- Division of debts
- Spousal support
- Child custody and visitation
What are some common violations of divorce orders?
Once your divorce order is final, that is it. When your ex-spouse fails to follow the conditions of the divorce order, they are violating a court order. Some of the common situations that are viewed as a breach of a divorce order include:
- Failing to pay child support
- Failing to pay spousal support
- Failing to follow the child visitation schedule
- Failing to contribute to shared costs
- Failing to submit property over to you
In addition to these, your ex-spouse can also invalidate some of their rights if they threaten or commit some type of criminal offense against you or your children.
What legal actions can I take if my ex refuses to follow the divorce order?
When your ex-spouse is not keeping their word and failing to follow the divorce order, there are a couple of steps that you can take. The first step is to inform them of the violation. While you do have the right to take legal action against your ex-spouse, sometimes that is not always the proper course of action. You want to make sure that you at least have a conversation with your ex-spouse – if you can – about the divorce order violation. If you have had several conversations and warnings about the divorce order and your ex-spouse continues to violate the order, you can then talk to your divorce attorney about holding your ex-spouse in contempt of court.
What is contempt of court?
When your ex-spouse has been held in contempt of court, that means that he or she has been deemed guilty of disobedience to the courts. Because your ex-spouse has deliberately ignored the terms of the divorce order without requesting a modification, they are disobeying the courts.
Once you have filed a motion for contempt of court, the courts can then enforce the divorce order on your behalf. Some of the ways that your ex-spouse can be penalized for violating their divorce order include having their wages garnished, paying fines, having their bank accounts frozen, and losing access to their drivers’ licenses or passports.
The first step involved in holding your ex-spouse in contempt of court is filing a motion. The court clerk will help you determine whether you need to file paperwork for a motion of civil contempt of court, motion for enforcement, or an alternate action. When filing your motion, you will be required to explain what parts of the divorce order were violated by your ex-spouse and the reason that your ex-spouse should be held in contempt of court. You will also be responsible for showing the proof of your ex-spouse’s violation. Our San Antonio attorneys can assist you with all of this.
The success of your motion will be based on the amount and type of evidence that you provide. Many contempt of court cases often fail because the claimants fail to provide the proper amount of evidence that can support their argument. Some of the types of evidence that can strengthen the validity of your arguments include conversations in writing between you and your ex-spouse, the dates that your ex-spouse failed to comply with the divorce order, and how their violations impacted you economically. As the injured party, you have the responsibility of establishing the burden of proof in your contempt of court case. Again, we understand how to gather this evidence on your behalf.
How a San Antonio divorce lawyer can help
It can be frustrating when your ex-spouse decides to deliberately ignore the terms and conditions that you both agreed to in your divorce proceedings. When your divorce order has been violated, you need an experienced San Antonio family law attorney who can help hold your ex-spouse accountable for their negligent actions.
A San Antonio divorce lawyer can determine the best legal actions for you to take that can force your ex-spouse to comply with the demands of your divorce order. If you want to warn your ex-spouse about their divorce order violation, your divorce lawyer can draft up a professional warning. If you want to file a motion for contempt of court, your divorce lawyer can take the lead on the process and increase your chances of being successful with your case.
When you need to enforce your divorce order, speak to the attorneys at the Grable Grimshaw, PLLC. Our divorce lawyers offer experienced counsel when you want to be successful in having your ex-spouse comply with the divorce order you both are required to follow. Call us today at 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form.