Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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.

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