If you’re reading this blog, you likely know that divorce can be a lengthy and uncomfortable process. Once you reach a final settlement, you and your ex-spouse are ready to put everything in the past and move on with your new lives. However, even with every detail down on paper about the dissolution of your marriage, there may be times when one person fails to meet the requirements of the divorce settlement. When this happens, you may need to get an attorney or judge involved.
When an ex-spouse is unable to comply with an existing court order to due to a material change in circumstances, they may apply for a post-divorce modification. However, if they are simply in non-compliance of the order, it’s a different story.
Perhaps an ex-spouse is failing to pay child support, not showing up for scheduled time with the children or making alimony payments late (or not at all). You have legal options to ensure these court orders are enforced properly, including Tennessee Child Support Enforcement, who can withhold wages, income and tax refunds to pursue child support. An experienced family law attorney can also work with you to file a contempt of court action if your ex-spouse continues to violate your divorce or support order.
Typical court order enforcement issues
After a post-divorce decree, it can be common for disagreements or issues of non-compliance to arise. Some of these situations might include:
- One party isn’t paying the ordered amount of child support or alimony required in the divorce decree
- One parent isn’t following the agreed-upon child custody or visitation schedule
- An ex-spouse has not turned over marital assets and property granted in the divorce agreement
An ex-spouse or partner may have reasons for violating the terms of your divorce decree – maybe current circumstances have made it impossible, maybe they misunderstood the agreement or maybe they’re willfully ignoring the terms. Either way, you have the right to enforce the agreement.
Enforcing a family court order
Because a divorce decree is an official court order, a willful violation can result in serious penalties, including fines and possible jail time. If your ex-spouse is failing to pay support or follow your set parenting plan, you may file for contempt of court or take other actions to recover support funds. Depending on the situation, a contempt of court action can be civil or criminal.
You should always consult with knowledgeable family law attorneys to determine the best solution for your particular family’s needs. Sometimes, a contempt of court order may not be in your best interests, as it can exacerbate already existing problems. We can work with you to find reasonable resolutions for your issues.
At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, our attorneys can guide you through the divorce process and beyond. Our years of experience can help ensure you and your family are taken care of as long as you need it, advocating for your best interests every step of the way. Please call 615-391-4200 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation at our Nashville office.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.