Divorce And Legal Issues

Enforcement of the divorce decree

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So, you have your divorce decree, but what does it really do for you.  The divorce decree is an outline of what each of the party's legal obligations are. Keep in mind this agreement is between you, your ex spouse and the judge it does not include anyone else.  While it is a legally binding agreement, it still has the element of the person(s) having to live up to what the document says. 

So what happens when one party does not live up to obligations as set in the divorce decree?  While you would hope that the other part would hold up their end of the court order it sometimes does not happen.  After asking the other party repeatedly for the issue to be resolved, with no success, it is time to turn to other avenues to enforce the decree.

For child support, many agencies out there will collect your child support for you.  Privet agencies will charge a percentage of the money collected as their fee.  There are also government agencies that can help as well.  Many of the government agencies out there that collect support only charge a minimal amount for their services.  Once they have your case they will file any motions needed to get the other party to comply.  They have to ability to report to the credit bureaus, suspend most licenses and issue bench warrants.  They will work for you to get the money your child is entitled.

Visitation is a bit more difficult to enforce.  If you show up for your visitation and told by your ex spouse they will not allow you to have the children.  You can call the police and have a report done on the issues however; the police will not get involved in personal matters. Therefore, if your visitation is denied without just cause, it is time to file a motion to the court regarding visitation.  There are different types of filings you can file, from an emergency hearing to a motion to modify custody to a motion to show just cause.  Remember that visitation and child support are two separate issues.  That means you cannot withhold one to get the other.  To do so you will be found in contempt.

Debts are another problem in divorces.  Most people do not understand that the divorce decree is between you, your ex-spouse and the judge that issues it.  Therefore, if your ex is ordered to pay a bill it can still reflect negatively on your credit.  In these issues, you would have to again file a motion with the court.  Unfortunately, with credit it is very hard to fix it once it is goes on your credit.  Many times, it is easier to pay the bill then go back to court to be reimbursed rather than let it go on your credit.

Unfortunately, Divorce decrees are only as good as the people that agreed to them are.  If you find yourself having to enforce your divorce decree, take the time to research your options.  Find yourself as much help as you can.  While you can do motions yourself, its better to find a lawyer that can help you at a reasonable price.  Having to enforce a divorce decree is not fun however; it is necessity for some people to get what they were awarded in court.

More about this author: Mellissa Withers

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