Have you, like nearly 50 percent of American married couples, recently gotten a divorce?
Going through a divorce is an incredibly stressful process, even if your divorce is an amicable one. Things get even harder, though, when your ex decides that they’re not going to follow the divorce decree that was laid out in court.
If your ex is not following the decree, you don’t have to just accept their behavior. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure they start to comply. Start by following these guidelines.
Basics of a Divorce Decree
First things first, let’s go over some of the basic information you need to understand about your divorce decree.
The divorce decree is the final step in the divorce court proceeding. It contains all the information you need to know about the court’s decision regarding your divorce.
It’s important to note that a divorce decree is different from a divorce certificate.
A divorce certificate is meant for record-keeping purposes. It proves that you are legally divorced from your ex. A divorce decree, on the other hand, is an enforceable court order that both you and your ex are supposed to follow.
Issuing the Decree
Your decree will be issued after you have had your trial or after you and your ex have gone through mediation and submitted a settlement to the court.
If you have a trial, the judge will weight evidence and testimonies and make decisions regarding custody, alimony, property division, and child support. All of these decisions are laid out in the decree.
If you and your ex settle your case yourself, you’ll still have to submit that settlement to the court in writing or as a spoken record.
The judge will then review your settlement and decide if it is fair. If the judge decides it’s fair, they will issue a decree including all the terms laid out in your settlement.
The Divorce is Final
The divorce is final on the day that the judge signs the decree. You’ll typically receive the decree a few days after it’s signed since it will be sent to your attorney first. The date that the decree is signed is the date that you and your ex are legally divorced.
What to do if Your Ex Won’t Comply
Now that you understand the basics of a divorce decree, it’s time to look at your options for getting your ex to comply with it.
Here are some steps to take to make sure you’re getting what you’re supposed to and that your ex is holding up their end of the agreement.
Make Sure You’re Compliant
Before you hire a family law attorney and try to go after your ex for not complying with the divorce decree, you first need to make sure that you are also complying.
Read through your divorce degree and make sure you’re abiding by all of the rules the judge laid out. While you’re going through the decree, you also need to make sure that your ex is, in fact, not complying with the decree.
Basically, you need to make sure you have legs to stand on before you try to take action against your ex.
Meet Conditions of the Agreement
If, after going through the divorce decree, you find that your ex has, in fact, violated part of the agreement, your next step is to make sure that you follow the steps laid out in the decree.
Your decree should have specific conditions you need to meet before you take legal action against your ex.
For example, you might have to provide him or her with written notice of the breach. Or, you might need to participate in mediation before you can take legal action against them.
Keep a Record
Be sure to keep a record of all of your ex’s breaches or the decree. This will help you back up your case if you have to go to court or take legal action.
When it comes to keeping records, make sure you’re saving everything that could possibly be related to your case. It’s better to have too much information than not enough information.
Your record might include bank statements that show insufficient child support payments or late payments. It could also be copies of emails or text messages or a written record of violations your ex has committed.
Reach Out in an Informal Way First
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to give your ex the benefit of the doubt. Before you launch a full-blown legal battle against them, check to make sure they haven’t just misunderstood the agreement.
Reach out them in an informal way, if possible, and talk to them about their lack of compliance. Show them the divorce decree and what it says their responsibilities are.
Do your best not to be harsh or accusatory when you do this. Keep a level head and try to be as cordial as possible. Try not to have this discussion in front of your children, either.
Hire a Family Law Attorney
If, at this point, you haven’t been successful in getting your ex to comply with the divorce decree, you’ll need to hire an experienced family law attorney.
You can work with the family law attorney who helped you with your divorce, or you can look for a new one, like the one available through this website.
A family law attorney will help you hold your ex accountable. They will also help you make sure your actions are appropriate and in line with the regulations laid out in the decree.
Do You Need to Hire a Family Lawyer?
Do you need to hire a new family lawyer to help you get your ex to comply with the divorce decree?
If so, we can help at Halt.org. Use our free search tool today to find a great family lawyer near you.
You can also check out our legal blogs today.
Check out the divorce section of our blog today for more help navigating the process of getting a divorce and making sure your ex holds up their end of the agreement.