Undoubtedly, the months and perhaps years leading up to your divorce were stressful and painful. Whether you were sad to see the marriage end or happy to begin your new life after the JOY of DIVORCE emancipation, the divorce settlement or order may have come as a relief at the end of a long, miserable marriage and possibly nerve-racking divorce. Ideally, you would have obtained a fair division of assets and debts, a reasonable custody arrangement, and manageable support amounts.
However, all those elements of your divorce may seem meaningless to you if your ex refuses to honor the agreement or court order. As positive as you may have tried to remain throughout the proceedings, you may have to take action and go back to Court to file a Petition for Enforcement if your ex will not comply with any part of your divorce settlement.
The most common areas of conflict
Depending on how complex your divorce was, your ex may have many opportunities to defy provisions of your mediated settlement agreement and/or final order. For example, the court may have evenly divided your marital debt, giving you and your spouse an equal share to pay. Even if the court assigned certain debts to your spouse, the creditors can still demand payment from you if your name is still on the account. So if your spouse refuses to pay, you may end up dealing with the consequences andthen have to take your ex-spouse back to Court in order to seek indemnification by Court order.
Another common area of defiance is support orders. If your ex is the payor of child support or alimony, you may find yourself waiting in vain for those important payments to arrive. This could create a financial struggle for you and your children.
Your spouse may also defy your divorce settlement or orders by denying you access to the children on the days when your custody agreement grants you parenting time. This may place your relationship with your children at risk. If this is the case, you would be wise to keep a careful log of each instance where your ex denies your right to be with your children. In addition to civil remedies available to you in your Family Court proceeding, “Interference with Child Custody” is also a crime in Texas, although the burden of proof is higher than in a civil Court, and a criminal case must be filed by a District Attorney, who may choose not to do so despite clear evidence to prove the crime.
Working it out
If your ex refuses to comply with your divorce settlement or court order, you may be able to discuss the matter to find out why. However, in many cases, the time for negotiating has passed, and your ex may simply be in contempt of court. You may have to take more drastic legal steps to ensure you obtain what you deserve through your divorce.
Dealing with an ex who violates your divorce order is something you should not have to do alone. An experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney working in Colin County, Dallas County, Denton County and surrounding areas of Texas can assist you in seeking full compliance of your divorce by helping you review your legal options.