A divorce can be a long and emotionally draining process. After the dust has settled and the divorce is finalized, it’s reasonable to expect your former spouse to respect the settlement he or she signed. Unfortunately, sometimes former spouses are not interested in keeping up their end of the bargain.
It’s understandably frustrating to go through all the trouble of divorce only to be met with one more hurdle to jump to move on with your life. However, sometimes issues take longer to root, and circumstances change. For some people, they have the hope that renegotiations are put back on the table for more favorable terms. Post-divorce enforcement issues are fairly common, and there are many avenues for recourse.
Examples of Non-Compliance
Non-compliance can manifest in many ways and largely depend on the terms of your divorce. Some examples include:
Failure to Pay Alimony: Alimony exists to help the lower-income spouse regain self-sufficiency. However, if the payments stop prematurely, it can put a huge strain on finances. On the other hand, if the paying spouse has had an exceptional change in circumstances, they may not be capable of paying and need to modify their terms.
Failure to Pay Child Support: When one parent neglects to provide court-ordered financial support, it’s a tremendous burden on parents and children. Much like alimony, however, sometimes life throws a wrench in the works, and it’s not possible for the other parent to meet the obligation.
Failure to Transfer Property: In cases where property division is part of the divorce settlement, one party may refuse to transfer ownership or fail to fulfill their obligations related to property distribution. For example, if one spouse lives on a property awarded to the other spouse during the divorce, he or she may refuse to leave.
Failure to Follow the Parenting Plan: Kids and parents deserve to spend time together. Few things are more frustrating than a parent who refuses to show up or makes things difficult when it’s time for the kids to come over.
What Can Be Done?
More often than not, a conversation that sets firm boundaries and expectations can alleviate some of the stress of non-compliance. When former spouses struggle to get along, sometimes it helps to utilize mediation services so that a neutral third party can help you sort things out. If all else fails, it may be time to take legal action. Here are some actions that can be taken:
Motions for Civil Contempt of Court or to Compel Compliance: By filing a motion for civil contempt, the aggrieved party can ask the court to enforce the terms of the divorce agreement and hold the non-compliant party accountable. This could result in penalties and fines for the non-compliant ex.
Criminal Charges: In very severe cases of non-compliance, such as willful failure to pay child support, the court may consider pursuing criminal charges, which can lead to more significant legal consequences for the non-compliant parent.
Collections: In situations where financial obligations, such as alimony or child support, are not met, the court can employ collections measures, including wage garnishment, property liens, or seizing assets to fulfill the owed amounts.
Getting Legal Help
In order to move forward with any of these options, make sure that you’re keeping a detailed record of all instances of non-compliance. The next step is to call your attorney. Whether your former spouse’s non-compliance is making your life unnecessarily difficult or if your previous divorce agreement is untenable due to new circumstances, an attorney can guide you toward the best course of action. Leveraging their experience can save you time and money so you can put this whole situation behind you.
There is a happy life waiting for you. Our trusted Legal Team provides bilingual legal services in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. We handle all financial aspects of Florida Divorces, including Mediation, Postnuptial Agreements, Child Custody, Paternity, and Asset Protection.