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He Stopped Following Our Divorce Agreement

Posted on June 18, 2015 in Divorce

divorce agreement, enforcement, Illinois family law attorneyLike many divorced individuals, you have probably worked very hard to rebuild your life after divorce. You have made sacrifices for your children, possibly moved into a smaller home, and maybe even changed your entire lifestyle. In addition to doing what needed to be done for yourself and your family, you also recognize that your divorce agreement spelled out certain responsibilities for which you were responsible. You have done your part, but now it seems obvious that your ex-spouse is no longer living up to his responsibilities under the terms of your agreement. So now what?

Divorce, under the best of circumstances, is never easy. It is, however, a civil proceeding, the results of which are legally binding. This means that your divorce agreement amounts to court order mandating that each of the outlined requirements must continue to be met. In the event that you or your ex-spouse fail to meet your obligations, whether in regard to spousal support, child issues, or any other related matter, legal action may be appropriate. There are some things you may consider doing, however, before going back to court:

  • Attempt to communicate: Depending on the nature of your relationship with your ex-spouse, you may be able to reach to him to find out why his obligations are not being met. As civilly as possible, let him know exactly how it is affecting you and your children, as applicable, and keep a record of your conversation. Give him the opportunity to get back on track and make better decisions.
  • Write a letter: If talking, texting, or other type of informal communication is not possible or has not produced results, it is time to put your concerns in writing. Be as specific as possible. "You’re making me mad," for example, is not constructive, but "Our agreement states you must make the car payments and you have missed the last three," addresses the issue directly. Keep a copy of the letter with your other records related to the divorce, as they may be needed in the future.
  • Get your lawyer involved: If you retained a lawyer for your divorce, this step is even easier, as he or she will have a thorough understanding of your divorce agreement. If not, it is not too late to find an attorney with whom you can work well together. A phone call to your ex or his attorney from your lawyer can often demonstrate your seriousness in getting the issue resolved.
  • Give warning that legal action is coming: Do not say you will do something that you are not actually prepared to do, but if and when you decide to take legal action, give your ex one final opportunity to make the appropriate changes without court intervention. If he does not, be ready to file.

Filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asks the court to hold your ex-spouse accountable for his actions. You must be prepared to show exactly what parts of the agreement are being violated and how. In enforcing your decree, the court may order that your ex’s wages be garnished if necessary, and may even impose prison sentences for contempt of court.

For more information about enforcing your divorce decree, contact an experienced family law attorney in Arlington Heights. The legal team at A. Traub & Associates understands how challenging it can be when your spouse refuses to uphold his responsibilities and we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to help you protect your rights. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

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