My Spouse Isn’t Following the Divorce Agreement
What Should I Do If My Spouse Isn’t Following the Divorce Agreement?
Take action now to enforce your legal rights
A divorce agreement must be obeyed by both parties. It is considered to be a court order and there are serious repercussions for violating a court order. Tennessee especially does not take this type of thing lightly. Depending on what provision of the divorce agreement your spouse violated, they could be facing fines and even jail time.
A violation of a divorce agreement may involve something such as:
- Failure to pay child support;
- Failure to transfer retirement account assets;
- Failure to pay you your share of the marital property;
- Failure to transfer property title;
- Intentionally damaging property before transferring it to the former spouse; and
- Failure to pay medical expenses.
If your former spouse is not following the divorce agreement, you have the right to pursue a contempt order in court. In order for your former spouse to be held in contempt, you have the burden of proving that he or she:
- Knew the terms of the agreement;
- Was able to comply with the terms of the agreement, but still knowingly violated them; and
- There was no viable excuse or cause for the violation.
If you have successfully proven all of the above, the court will hold your former spouse in contempt. The punishment for this will hang on what type of provision of the divorce agreement was violated. For instance, failing to pay child support is one of the most serious violation of divorce agreement terms that can occur. Failure to pay child support can result in both criminal and civil contempt. If criminal contempt is found, the punishment can include up to 10 days in jail. The Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System helps handle failure to pay child support. They can pursue liens against a person’s property, garnish wages, freeze financial accounts, and driver’s license suspension.
If a property provision of the divorce agreement is violated, such as failure to transfer your portion of the marital property to you, the former spouse will need to tell a judge why he failed to comply. If no valid reason can be provided, a judge will likely hold him in civil contempt. If the violation was done in an attempt to intentionally hurt you, jail time is a possibility.
Divorce agreements outline obligations of both parties. These obligations must be complied with. If your former spouse is violating your divorce agreement in any way, you have a legal right to bring them to court to make sure your rights are enforced. The dedicated Murfreesboro family law attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley protect your legal rights in all aspects of divorce. Contact Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley today online, or call 615-893-1331 to schedule a free consultation.