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Enforcing the Terms of a Divorce in Stamford

When your former spouse is not respecting your rights under a divorce decree, it can be difficult to determine what to do or what steps to take. It is common to be confused about the process to enforce the terms of a divorce. It can also feel challenging to determine how to advocate for your children without harming their relationship with your former spouse. Many people find that a family law attorney’s experience can greatly help. Our qualified divorce lawyers can help you pursue the right option for enforcing the terms of a divorce in Stamford to get relief that’s right for your family.

Enforcing Alimony & Property Division Usually Calls for Motions for Contempt

When a former spouse fails to comply with an order from a Stamford divorce court, the proper method to enforce the terms of the divorce will depend upon what aspect of the divorce order was violated. Commonly, the approach to enforce a divorce order (or decree) is to ask for a motion for contempt. That motion asks that the court require a spouse to follow the terms of the divorce decree, and the cost of the moving party’s legal fees in having to petition the court. To meet the requirements for a motion for contempt, the person requesting relief has to show that the order has been violated by clear and convincing evidence and that the violation was willful. The result of a motion for contempt can include fines, penalties, and even jail time.

The type of evidence needed depends on how the former spouse violated the divorce order. For example, a showing of breach of the alimony order would simply involve failure to make an alimony payment, and a showing that the nonpayment was willful. Failure to comply with the parenting agreement terms—like non-disparagement of the other parent or failure to make the child available for visitation and joint custody—may also require a motion for contempt. Property distribution can also be grounds for a motion for contempt. Occasionally, these orders may require property to be seized to effectuate the court’s ruling.

Other Ways to Obtain Relief When the Divorce Decree Is Not Followed

Other violations of the divorce decree may be more complex. A failure to follow a child support order could be enforced through the Child Support Enforcement Program, which may provide faster relief. Connecticut has arrearage guidelines calculating how much the former spouse must pay weekly to make up the missed payments. Additional remedies for violation of child support orders—such as garnishing wages, court settlements, or tax refunds—may be available.

Sometimes, a former spouse may argue that they cannot comply with the divorce orders. In those cases, the former spouse may ask that the divorce order be modified through a post-judgment motion to modify. Some may even go so far as to claim that the divorce order was invalid and should be voided. These kinds of issues may require a modification of the original order.

Enforcing a Divorce Order from a Different State

Some people in Stamford may need help enforcing a divorce decree that was entered in a different state. Special steps are needed to enforce those orders. Many of these steps involve how the former spouse is notified about the motion to enforce and could add time delays to a request. These divorce decrees are called “foreign,” a reference to another state, not country. In motions to enforce the judgment, Connecticut courts will apply the state’s law where the divorce was finalized. Differences in law may involve the burden of proof or application of the other state’s support calculations.

Our Stamford Attorneys Can Help You Enforce Your Divorce

Deciding when to return to court to enforce your or your child’s rights under a divorce decree can be challenging. Many aspects of that decision can involve future relations with the former spouse and your child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent. Our lawyers have experience with family law situations and contempt of court proceedings. We can assist you with determining the best course of action for your family in enforcing the terms of a divorce in Stamford.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
1700 Bedford Street Suite 202 Stamford CT 06905 (203) 599-7498