Enforcing Divorce Decrees in Florida

Divorce decrees are legally binding documents and must be followed once a judge has approved them. If your ex-spouse fails to comply with any element of a divorce decree, they can face several consequences, such as fines, wage garnishment, or even jail time. When your ex-spouse fails to adhere to the divorce agreement you both signed, you have the right to have your ex legally comply with the order. Here, we discuss common elements of divorce decrees that can be legally enforced and what you can do to gain compliance from your ex. 

Spousal Support Payments 

Spousal support, or alimony payments, are awarded to help a lesser-earning spouse transition to single life after a divorce. If your ex-spouse fails to comply with the spousal support agreement outlined in your divorce decree, you can request your ex be held in contempt of court by filing a Motion of Contempt with the family court that finalized your divorce. You will need to show that your ex’s refusal to pay is intentional and they have the capability and means to make payments but fail to do so. The court will then examine the case to determine if legal measures such as wage garnishment or property liens should be used to gain compliance from your ex. The court may also review whether the type of spousal payment fits the current circumstances. If there have been significant changes in circumstances, a judge may modify the existing order so you and your ex-spouse can reach an agreement. 

Child Support Payments 

You can request a Notice of Delinquency for a past-due child support payment 15 days after the agreed-upon due date. This notice formally notifies your ex that payment is late and encourages them to make payment before other legal action is taken. Your ex-spouse then has five days to submit payment. If payment isn’t received 20 days after it was due and you’ve already sent a Notice of Delinquency, you can file a Motion of Contempt with the court. A hearing will then be scheduled to determine any legal consequences your spouse may face to gain compliance. The court can use various means to enforce child support payments, including wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, property liens, and bank account levies. 

Parenting Plans 

Parents are legally obligated to adhere to the agreed-upon parenting plan once approved. If your ex-spouse fails to comply, you can file a Motion to Enforce to attempt to gain compliance. You’ll need to provide evidence that the time-sharing plan hasn’t been followed and specify the time and costs associated with your ex’s failure to adhere to the schedule. 

Equitable Distribution 

The divorce decree will specify how marital property will be divided between you and your ex-spouse. However, a disgruntled ex may refuse to release, transfer, or sell property as stated in the decree. This could include failing to: 

  • Sell or move out of the family home
  • Transfer bank account ownership 
  • Sell business assets 
  • Make payments toward marital debt
  • Disperse funds from retirement accounts 
  • Refinance a mortgage 

If your ex fails to comply with the agreed-upon equitable distribution guidelines stated in the divorce decree, you can file a Motion to Enforce with the court to gain compliance. 

Divorce Decree Enforcement in Osceola County 

To formally enforce a part of your divorce decree, you’ll want to review the order and document specific actions your ex-spouse has failed to follow. During the hearing process, you must provide evidence of the failure to comply, such as recorded forms of communication. Once you file a Motion of Contempt or Enforcement, the goal is to provide your ex the opportunity to comply at every stage, including mediation. If compliance isn’t possible, you and your ex-spouse will have a final hearing before a judge. 

Don’t go through this process alone. Have an experienced family law attorney fight for your rights when an ex-spouse violates your court-ordered judgment. Contact the office of Kathy D. Sheive at 407-315-2268 and put our 30+ years of experience at work for you. 

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