If Your Ex Is in Contempt of Family Court
You made it all the way through your divorce, and you hammered out the details along the way. You may have thought that finalizing your divorce would offer you a new beginning, but if your ex is not complying with the terms set forth in your divorce, it probably feels like a serious setback. If your ex-spouse is disobeying a court order that came out of your divorce, he or she could be found in contempt of court, which can be a decisive motivator. If your former spouse is not complying with the court-ordered terms of your divorce, consult with an experienced Central Texas divorce attorney today.
A Court’s Orders Are Enforceable
When it comes to orders set forth by family court in a divorce, the party who is the subject of the order must comply. Examples of court orders that you may seek to enforce in a family law or divorce case include:
Orders involving child support
Orders involving child custody and visitation schedules
Orders involving the division of property (including assets and debts)
Orders involving spousal maintenance
If your spouse is in arrears for child support or spousal maintenance, if he or she hasn’t complied with the specifications regarding the division of your marital assets or debts, and/or if he or she isn’t participating in or allowing court-ordered visitation, you have the legal option of going through a contempt proceeding to compel your ex’s compliance. You and your children’s continued well-being likely hinge upon the orders set forth in your divorce decree, and if your ex isn’t complying, you need professional legal counsel.
The Contempt Proceeding
If your spouse is refusing to adhere to orders handed down by the family court, you can attempt to force compliance through a family court contempt proceeding. If the court determines that your former spouse is indeed in contempt, it can sentence him or her with jail time, with a fine, or with both. Additionally, the judge has the discretion to impose further consequences, including paying for the court and attorney fees you incurred in the process of bringing the contempt charge. The fact is that the threat of jail, alone, is often very motivating for those who aren’t in compliance with family court orders.
If the court determines that your ex-spouse is in contempt of court, the judge will carefully consider the best path forward. For instance, if your ex is neglecting to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance but is employed, the judge may determine that jail time would be financially counterproductive. In such a case, the judge might suspend the jail sentence, but if your ex were to violate the conditions set forth, it is very likely that he or she would be sent to jail.