Enforcing the Divorce Decree / Contempt Proceedings (Pre & Post Decree)
X

Naperville

Oak Brook

Burr Ridge

Lake Forest

Enforcing the Divorce Decree Through Contempt Proceedings in DuPage County

Naperville, IL Enforcement and Contempt Proceedings Attorneys

For a divorce decree to be effective, the ex-spouses must actively comply with its terms. Otherwise, the document is merely ink on paper. Typically, the parties voluntarily comply with court orders or a negotiated settlement. Sometimes, however, the judge must intervene. Although these enforcement disputes often have an emotional foundation, the proceeding is purely legal. The judges are not interested in sending a message to offending spouses or punishing them. Their only concerns are the best interest of the children and an equitable division of the marital estate.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we are dedicated to our clients, and we are willing to work as long as necessary to help ensure that your family's legal situation is as stable as possible. Although we always look for the most efficient answer, we are there for you, no matter how many court appearances are necessary.

Burden of Proof

In Illinois, a party can enforce a divorce or family law order through a contempt proceeding. It is much like any other similar civil procedure. To find the other party in contempt, the evidence must demonstrate that:

  • Court Order: There must be a valid temporary or permanent court order and the judge must have jurisdiction over the parties. There is typically no statute of limitations; an order can be enforced tomorrow or ten years from now. If the order is too vague to be enforced, the offending party is normally excused for the violation and the judge clarifies the language.
  • Violation: Technically, if one support payment is one day late the spouse has disobeyed the court order. Pragmatically, however, most judges want to see either multiple violations or a repeated violation before they hold someone in contempt.
  • Aware and Able: Most all spouses sign the order being enforced or they were in court when the judge issued it. Ability can be a defense in many cases; for example, an obligor may have been out of work.
  • Intentional Disobedience: If all other elements are established, it is very difficult for an offending party to convince anyone that their disobedience was accidental.

If the judge finds the offending spouse in contempt for a spousal support or child support obligation, wage garnishment is an appropriate remedy. For a non-support violation, such as withholding visitation, a judge may order a probated jail sentence and incarcerate the offending spouse if the misbehavior occurs again.

Type of Evidence

Keep a journal of all your interactions with a recalcitrant spouse. Witness testimony, especially from third parties like teachers or doctors, can be very compelling as well. For financial cases, paper copies of statements are better than computer downloads because they are more authentic and easier for the judge to comprehend.

Enforcement is often a necessary part of a divorce procedure. For a free consultation with attorneys who stand up for your rights, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240. Convenient payment plans are available.

Contact Us

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.
*
*
*

RECENT DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW NEWS

Business Valuation for Divorce Purposes
Business Valuation for Divorce Purposes
Asset division is by far the most complex part of divorce for many people, and this is only magnified if a family business is involved. In order to get an accurate estimation of a business’s value for purposes of the marital estate, professionals are often...
Continue Reading...
The Growing Issue of Elder Divorce
The Growing Issue of Elder Divorce
A trend that has become more apparent with each passing year in the last decade is the rising divorce rate for couples over the age of 55. The overall divorce rate in the United States has continued to drop over the last several years, after...
Continue Reading...
Understanding a Dissipation of Assets Claim
Understanding a Dissipation of Assets Claim
When you are in the middle of a divorce, property division can always become an issue regardless of how amicable the proceedings have been to that point. Both spouses in a marriage deserve their fair share of the marital assets - though “fair” does not...
Continue Reading...
AVVO COLLABORATIVE LAW INSTITUTE OF ILLINOIS SuperLawyers IACP DCBA Illinois State Bar Association Leading Lawyers Network