Divorce is rarely simple. You and your former spouse probably spent hours negotiating a fair property division and deciding how to co-parent your children. After all that work, it can be frustrating when your spouse does not adhere to your agreements.
Divorce decrees are enforceable court orders, and when your spouse is non-compliant, you have legal options. When you have questions about enforcing the terms of a divorce in Hartford, speak with an experienced attorney about how best to achieve your goals.
A divorce decree includes orders regarding property division, alimony, child support, and parenting arrangements. The judge expects the spouses to comply with the order, but the court does not make efforts to ensure the couple follows their orders. When a person is not compliant, the other spouse must bring it to the court’s attention.
However, turning to the courts to solve every problem or dispute is expensive, inefficient, and unwise. People should note any disputes or problems in complying with the court’s order in writing, discuss them with each other, and seek the help of a mediator if necessary. Notifying a Hartford attorney of the issue is a good idea—the legal professional could reach out to the other party’s representative to begin enforcing the terms of a divorce.
Ex-spouses should seek enforcement in court only when other methods of resolving the issue have been unproductive. At the same time, being proactive is critical. Allowing non-compliance to continue could erode a spouse’s rights, make it more difficult for the other spouse to come back into compliance, and harm the children.
When a party falls behind on their alimony payments or child support or does not comply with the terms of the property division order, addressing it immediately is crucial. The longer the arrears accumulate, the more difficult it can be to bring the obligation up to date.
Reach out to the delinquent party as soon as they miss a payment. When they cannot commit to bringing their obligations up to date immediately, and the other person wants to enforce the divorce terms, contact a Hartford attorney. They can prepare a court motion to force the spouse to pay or be held in contempt.
Courts have multiple means of securing past due payments and ensuring future compliance, including wage garnishment, attaching bank accounts, seizing property, and suspending driver’s licenses and professional licenses. When the other party is not paying due to a change in their financial circumstances, a court could modify an existing order to reflect their current ability to pay.
Parents in Hartford create a troubling and potentially harmful situation when they refuse to abide by the parenting plan in their divorce terms. Examples of non-compliance with a parenting plan include the following:
Any conduct that disrupts the visitation schedule or potentially causes stress to the children may be a violation of the parenting plan.
Parents should keep careful notes of how the parenting plan is working. Sometimes, a simple adjustment can ease tensions and resolve non-compliance. In other cases, parents might seek mediation to address ongoing concerns and modify their plan.
A parent who believes their children are in imminent danger should call the police. Although law enforcement officers typically do not get involved in custody disputes, they will intervene if necessary to ensure a child’s safety.
When a parent’s non-compliance creates a dangerous or potentially harmful situation, Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-56f allows a parent to bring an ex parte motion to temporarily modify the parenting plan. Bringing such a motion is appropriate when a parent refuses to return a child, is exposing the child to dangerous situations, is abusing the child, attempting to permanently remove the child from the court’s jurisdiction, or otherwise creating a dangerous situation.
A judge may enter a temporary order changing the parenting plan but will hold a hearing within a few days where both parents will present their side. A lawyer can represent a parent at the hearing and help them make a persuasive case.
It is important to be proactive when your former spouse is not complying with the orders the judge issued with your divorce decree. Letting matters fester usually makes them harder to resolve. Contact a local attorney when you need help enforcing the terms of a divorce in Hartford.