How Can I Enforce a Divorce Decree in Utah?
You spent a significant amount of time in the divorce process, working toward a final resolution. The court has issued a divorce decree, and you felt that you could finally move on with the court order in hand. But what happens if your former spouse isn’t following the terms of the divorce decree? Is there anything you can do?
This situation isn’t hopeless, and you don’t have to face it alone. If your ex is violating the terms of your divorce decree, you have a legal right to pursue enforcement of this court order. The experienced and compassionate divorce lawyers at Christensen Law are here to stand with you and help you fight for your legal rights.
With over 35 years of experience helping families across Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas, we have what it takes to help you get the best possible outcome for your family. Call our knowledgeable family law attorneys today for help with your divorce decree enforcement. We’ll evaluate your case for free and help you move past this painful and frustrating situation.
How Do I Know If My Ex Is Violating Our Divorce Decree?
A divorce decree is a legal order from the court that outlines each spouse’s rights and responsibilities after the divorce. Depending on the couple’s situation, the divorce decree might outline terms on things such as:
- Alimony or spousal support
- Division of marital property
- Child support or maintenance
- Other financial obligations
- Child custody
- Child visitation rights
If you think your ex is violating your divorce decree, review the court order to make sure you fully understand your former spouse’s responsibilities, as well as your own. Check these details against your ex’s current behavior to make sure the court actually ordered them to do or pay what you think they should.
It’s also vital to review any responsibilities the court assigned to you under the order. Make sure you aren’t violating the divorce decree before you pursue action against your former spouse.
How Can I Protect My Legal Rights Under My Divorce Decree?
If you believe that your former spouse is violating your divorce decree, a good first step is to speak with your ex. It’s possible that they misunderstood or forgot about a part of the court order, and speaking with them might help you avoid another complicated legal process.
However, if your ex is knowingly violating the divorce decree and has no intention of correcting their behavior, then you might need to pursue legal action to enforce the order.
Steps you can take to protect your rights include:
If you want to pursue legal action against your ex for a divorce decree violation, then you will need to have clear and convincing evidence for your claim.
Collect information to prove that your ex knew their requirements under the divorce decree, had the ability to follow the court order, and knowingly and willingly violated the terms of the decree. This evidence might include things like emails or texts between you and your former spouse or financial statements. You also want it to show that you’ve complied with your responsibilities.
Pursue Legal Action
If your ex refuses to change their behavior and continues to violate your divorce decree, then you might need to file a civil case against them.
If you want to file a claim on your own, the Utah court system has information that can help guide you through their complicated paperwork requirements and complex processes. However, the best way to build a solid case and protect your rights is to work with an experienced divorce attorney.
Contact a Trusted Divorce Attorney
A knowledgeable lawyer can assess your case, help you understand your legal options, and help you decide which path forward is best for you and your family. If you decide to pursue legal action, your attorney can handle all the details of your claim, fight on your behalf, and represent your best interests in court.
What Are Possible Legal Options for Divorce Decree Enforcement?
There are multiple ways to pursue divorce decree enforcement under Utah law, each of which involves going back to court to enforce the order. Some of these options include:
Filing for Contempt of Court
If your ex does something such as refusing to let you visit your children, one option is to file a motion in family court against them for civil contempt of court. After you file, both you and your former spouse must present evidence in a hearing.
If the court decides that your ex violated the divorce decree, they will typically give them a chance to remedy the situation and might order that they take parenting classes or grant you make-up time for parental visits. They might also order them to pay your attorney’s fees. However, if your ex still doesn’t meet their obligations, the court might send them to jail.
Seeking a Sum-Certain Judgment
Another option is to ask for a sum-certain judgment against your former spouse to recover payments for child support or spousal support. This route also typically involves a hearing where both sides present evidence.
If the court decides that your ex is violating the divorce decree, then they might garnish your ex’s wages or order that they surrender their tax refund or bonus until they meet their financial obligations.
Get Help With Divorce Decree Enforcement Today
Don’t wait to stand up for your legal rights. If your ex isn’t paying alimony, is behind on child support payments, or they’re withholding parental visits, you might have multiple legal options available. Christensen Law is here to help you make things right.