What Should I Do if My Ex is Violating Our Illinois Divorce Decree?
While many Illinois couples look forward to the finalization of their divorce as the day when their problems with their ex will end, for some couples, divorce is only the end of certain problems and the start of new ones. Although divorce decrees are enforceable court orders that both spouses must follow, not all spouses feel equally bound to abide by the law and may violate the terms of the divorce decree in ways that cause serious difficulties for the other spouse, especially when children are involved. If your former spouse is flouting your divorce decree, you may want to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.
The Reason for the Violation May Affect the Response
If your ex has stopped making child support payments because he unexpectedly found himself out of work, you may be able to talk to him and set up an arrangement that works for you both until he gets back on his feet financially. It is generally best to avoid a heavy-handed court response for minor violations that are the result of changing circumstances when other solutions may be more effective.
However, if your ex simply does not want to pay child support or has deliberately lost his job to avoid making payments, you may want to take more drastic measures. Likewise, if your former spouse is failing to follow your parenting schedule or making important decisions without following your parenting plan, you may want to take action.
Contempt of Court
A divorced spouse who wants their ex to come into compliance with the divorce order must file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. This is a request for a court hearing in which the violating spouse must explain his or her position and in which a court can enact sanctions intended to enforce a divorce decree.
The most common consequence for violating a divorce order is being held in contempt of court. While punishments for this can vary according to the seriousness of the violation and whether someone is a repeat offender, a warning for civil contempt is usually given first and then followed by more serious consequences, including:
- Fines and fees
- Wage garnishment
- License suspension
- Bank account seizure
- Jail time
It is important to note that being found guilty of contempt of court is a serious criminal offense that must be proven through facts and evidence. While being found guilty of violating a divorce decree does not involve a trial by jury, there must be evidence that the court order was violated. Your attorney can help you gather evidence and create a strong case proving that your ex is violating the court order.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
Dealing with an ex who violates the terms of your divorce decree can be a major headache, but with the help of an experienced Wheaton divorce decree enforcement attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you can take steps to bring them into compliance. Do not wait until you are desperate for help - take action now by calling our offices at 630-871-1002 and scheduling a confidential consultation.