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Most people will breathe a sigh of relief after their Maryland divorce case concludes and the judge enters the final order, as the divorce decree brings a sense of closure to the process. However, in many cases, this court order will contain numerous provisions that impose continuing obligations on the parties. When your ex does not comply with terms on property division, alimony, or custody, visitation, and support of minor children, you might wonder what legal recourse is available. Fortunately, state law provides you with options to enforce a judgment in a divorce case, and this remedy is a powerful tool to protect your interests.
As with any legal matter, it is always smart to retain skilled legal representation for assistance if you need to enforce a divorce decree. A Maryland divorce attorney can handle the details, but it is helpful to know what types of relief are available when your ex violates the final divorce decree.
Enforcement Requires Action
There are some aspects of a divorce decree that happen automatically, such as withholdings from a party’s income to cover child support and/or alimony. Still, you may need to take action if your ex switches jobs to prevent withholding, refuses to comply with the order’s terms, or is simply unable to do what is required. The legal process for addressing misconduct is filing a motion for enforcement as follows:
- In your motion, you identify the specific areas of the divorce decree that your ex is violating.
- You must also provide detailed facts that constitute a violation of the divorce court order, including documentation, your own account, and recollections from witnesses.
- A motion should also describe the relief you are requesting, which may be any of the options described below.
Legal Relief Through a Motion for Enforcement
The details will obviously depend on how a party is in violation of a Maryland final divorce decree. Violations are linked to asset division, spousal support, and issues related to minor children. You might consider the following options for enforcing a divorce order:
- Delivery of assets, if your ex has not completed the paperwork to transfer property or physically handed over items;
- A money judgment, when a party has depleted or sold an asset in which you have a financial or ownership interest;
- Modification of child custody or visitation;
- Recovering the attorneys’ fees you incur in seeking enforcement; and,
- An order of contempt, since the court has the power to issue sanctions when a party defies an order entered by the judge. Civil contempt is punishable by fines, but a court could resort to criminal penalties in extreme cases.
Discuss Enforcement of Decrees with a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Lawyer
It is reassuring to know that you have options when your ex does not comply with the final decree in a Maryland divorce case. Do not put your rights at risk by trying to represent yourself. To learn about my services in the area of divorce, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation. After i review your situation, i can advise you on what to expect.