Enforcing Divorce Agreement May Require Court Appearance

Enforcing Divorce Agreement May Require Court AppearanceAfter months of negotiating a divorce settlement, it is frustrating when your former spouse decides to ignore the terms of the agreement. Fortunately, a divorce agreement is a legally binding document that neither of you is allowed to disobey without first legally modifying it. If your former spouse is violating your divorce agreement, you can take him or her to court in order to enforce your agreement. The court may order a non-compliant party to compensate the other party and penalize him or her.

Agreement Violations

A divorce agreement establishes guidelines for financial and parental issues after the marriage has ended. A divorce court must approve the agreement, making sure that the terms are fair to both parties. When one party disobeys the agreement, the other party or their children may suffer. A former spouse can violate a divorce agreement by:

  • Denying access to the children during the other party’s scheduled parenting time;
  • Failing to make scheduled child support or spousal maintenance payments; or
  • Not surrendering marital property that was awarded to the other party.

Going to Court

If your co-parent is not paying child support, you can go to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services. The department can take legal action to enforce the payments. For any violation, you can file a petition for contempt of court against your former spouse. Sometimes, the threat of legal action is enough to get a non-compliant party to cooperate. If you do go to court, you must prove that:

  • You have a valid divorce agreement approved by the court;
  • Your former spouse is aware of the terms of the agreement; and
  • Your former spouse has knowingly violated the agreement.

After you have successfully proven the violation, your former spouse must explain whether there are any extenuating circumstances that prevent him or her from complying with the agreement. If the court finds in your favor, your former spouse must immediately comply with the agreement and may be responsible for your legal fees. The court can order that your former spouse’s wages be garnished or even sentence him or her to jail time, depending on the nature of the violation.

Enforcing Your Agreement

You may need to revise your divorce agreement when circumstances change for yourself or your former spouse. However, your former spouse cannot unilaterally decide to change the agreement. A Kane County divorce attorney at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help you enforce your divorce agreement in court. Schedule a free consultation by calling 331-588-6611.



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