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Divorce Decree Enforcement in DuPage County 

 Posted on June 27, 2022 in Divorce

naperville divorce lawyerEnduring a divorce can be agonizing, but the seemingly never-ending trauma could be amplified when a spouse refuses to comply with the divorce decree. A divorce decree could include determinations about the division of marital property, spousal support, child support, and parenting time. Sometimes, as stipulated in the divorce decree, an ex-spouse’s main source of income is spousal maintenance. Non-compliance with upholding the financial agreement of the decree could be catastrophic for the contesting spouse and perhaps even lead to destitution. Noncompliance with parental responsibilities and parenting time detrminations could also be detrimental to the child.  A divorce attorney can help enforce the court-binding decree through a contempt proceeding.

What is a Contempt Proceeding? 

A divorce decree can be enforced through the court by a contempt proceeding. Wage garnishments for support noncompliance or probated jail sentences for denying parenting time are some of the penalties for being held in contempt. Probated jail sentences incentivize adherence to the decree as the suspended jail sentence threatens actual incarceration. The disputing party must substantiate the following four factors.

  • Court Ordered Divorce Decree:  In Illinois, there is no statute of limitations on enforcing a divorce decree. To proceed, the decree, which can be temporary or permanent, must be explicitly detailed.  If the decree is ambiguous, the violation might be dismissed, and the judge could revise the decree's details.  

  • Violation: For a judge to enforce the decree, the disputing spouse should prove that several violations occurred.  A judge is unlikely to hold a non-compliant spouse in contempt if there is only one minor infraction, like a late support payment.

  • Aware and Able: Since each spouse signs or is present when the judge issues the divorce decree, they are aware of the agreement. If the non-compliant spouse is unemployed, that spouse does not have the ability to make support payments. Or, if the non-compliant spouse is ill, that spouse would be excused from parenting time. In those instances, the non-compliant spouse would be excused from the contempt proceeding.

  • Intentional disobedience: If each spouse is aware and able to adhere to a well-drafted decree, and if there are several violations, the judge will likely hold the non-compliant spouse in contempt. 

Evidence for the Disputing Party to Present

  • Journal – Record the time and date of all interactions with the insubordinate spouse, including texts, emails, and conversations. Note the instances of advising the culpable spouse to abide by the decree.

  • Documents – Keep all financial statements, including bills and receipts. If possible, provide paper copies as they are more likely to be authenticated.

  • Witness testimony – Testimony from teachers, coaches, doctors, and therapists can be valuable and credible.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

At Pesce Law Group P.C., our family law attorneys are proficient in the complexities of enforcing divorce decrees through contempt proceedings. We advocate for what is rightfully due to our clients and are compassionate to their emotional and financial needs. Payment plans are available. If your spouse is reneging on your divorce decree, contact a Naperville divorce lawyer at 630-230-1002 for a free consultation.


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