Skip to main content

Post-Divorce Problems: My Ex Isn't Following the Judgment

Unfortunately, sometimes the end of a case isn't the end of a dispute. Often two people who just don't get along anymore end up back in court to resolve an issue that arises after the divorce case has ended. Whether the case ended with an agreement (usually called a "Separation Agreement" or a "Divorce Agreement") or with a trial, there will be a judgment dividing the assets and liabilities of the former spouses, and defining any support or other obligations owed to each other, or to any children.

This Judgment can be amended or enforced as necessary and dependent on certain circumstances.  Our next series of posts, entitled Post Divorce Problems, will address some of the common reasons that you could end up back in court, post-judgment.

In some instances, ex-spouses return to court when one party fails to follow the judgment. When the judgment is clear (and unambiguous) as to what that individual is supposed to do, or not do, and that individual violates the judgment, the aggrieved party can file a Complaint for Contempt.  In short, a complaint for contempt is a new lawsuit in which one person is accusing the other person of not following the judgment and requesting sanctions.

There are two types of contempts: civil and criminal. The goal of a civil contempt is to force compliance with the violated court order, and they are far more common than criminal contempts. The goal of a criminal contempt is to punish the other party for violating the earlier court order.  Civil contempts are more common because usually you want the person to be forced to do what they were ordered to do in the first place, not just be punished for their failure to comply.

Click here to learn more about Contempt Complaints.


Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W