Understandably, divorce contains conflict. After all, it is typically some conflict that brought an end to the marriage in the first place. The hope of many spouses is to get through the divorce with a satisfying court order and move on with their separate lives. Unfortunately, when one spouse carries the battle beyond the final decree, the other spouse may have no choice but to bring the matter back to court.
If your former spouse continues to fight you by refusing to comply with any order in your divorce decree, he or she may be in contempt of court. You have some decisions to make about how you want to proceed.
What is contempt of court?
You may have texted, called and even made a personal visit to find out why your spouse has not lived up to the terms of the divorce order. No matter the reason or excuse your spouse gave, the fact may be that you need your spouse’s compliance in order to keep your family running smoothly. Some ways in which an ex-spouse may be in contempt of a divorce order include the following:
- Refusing to turn over or transfer assets awarded to you in property division
- Consistently picking up or returning the children late for visitation or custody sharing
- Refusing to give you access to the children
- Taking the children out of Wyoming or beyond the geographical limits of the court order
- Failing to pay court-ordered spousal support
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support
You may be tempted to take matters into your own hands, but following the appropriate legal steps may bring a more effective result.
What can I do about it?
Filing a motion for contempt of court against your ex may seem extreme, but it will serve two purposes. First, it will make clear to your spouse that the court order is not optional, and second, it will place the courts behind you in your efforts to obtain what you deserve. Once you have filed the motion with the court, your attorney will notify your spouse. This allows your spouse time to rectify the situation before the hearing date.
Meanwhile, you will have to gather the evidence that your spouse is in contempt since the burden of proof is on you. If you successfully show that your ex violated the court order, the judge will impose the appropriate sentence, which may include jail time.
Since there is much at stake in a contempt matter, you may find it in your best interests to seek legal advice from the earliest moments so you can have the best chances for a positive outcome.