When a divorce court judge finalizes the terms of a divorce, everything written in the resulting divorce judgment needs to be respected by both ex-spouses and followed as closely to the letter as possible. Despite the power behind a divorce judgment or decree, it is still only a piece of paper. Dishonest or untrustworthy ex-spouses may decide to simply ignore what was written or approved by the judge, doing what they want with shared or owed finances, parenting time, and the like.
If you have found yourself in such a situation, then it might be time to consider enforcing your divorce judgment through legal action. But where do you begin?
Steps to Follow When Enforcing a Divorce Decree
A good starting point for divorce judgment enforcement is attempting to communicate with the uncooperative ex-spouse. Assuming it is safe to do so, ask them about the violations you have noticed and see if they are intentional. Many divorcees inadvertently mix up child custody schedules, for example, especially if the divorce is still relatively recent. You might be able to “enforce” your divorce decree with one conversation. On the likely chance that does not happen, there are legal channels to use instead.
The enforcement of your divorce judgment will likely include five steps:
- Return to or contact the courthouse that finalized your divorce decree to explain the situation to the judge’s law clerk.
- Collect the necessary paperwork to file a motion for enforcement. You might be instructed to fill them out online, depending on your county’s guidelines.
- Fill out the motion for enforcement and file it with the appropriate case or docket number.
- When you are given a court hearing date in response to your filing, be sure to attend. This is your chance to present your argument to the court and defeat any counterpoints brought up by your ex-spouse.
- Comply with any consequent court orders. Assuming you have done nothing wrong, all of the new orders should be directed towards your non-compliant ex-spouse. A judge can penalize your ex in a variety of ways and depending on what part of your divorce judgment was violated. The judge may change child custody rights in your favor, place a lien on your ex’s property or a garnishment on your ex’s wages if they owe you child support or spousal support, or even, in the most extreme cases, sentence them to jail time.
Enforce Divorce Judgements with Confidence
The average divorce judgment enforcement process may be capable of being broken down into five steps, but that does not necessarily make it all simple. Step 4 in the aforementioned list is particularly tricky. If you are not prepared for what your ex says in the courtroom, then your enforcement attempt could be shot down entirely.
To take the guesswork out of your enforcement case, retain the services of Gill Law Group, PC and our Irvine divorce attorneys. Each case we take is given our full attention and managed by a Super Lawyers® Rising Star (2017 – 2018) member, attorney Raja Gill. Get to the bottom of the issue and start down the right path today by calling 949-681-9952 or contacting us online.