The best way to prevent problems with enforcement of a Divorce Decree is to make sure that a proactive approach is taken when the Divorce Decree is being negotiated and, ultimately, crafted. For example, as a divorce attorney in Minneapolis, representing a party, I must not only ensure that the Divorce Decree sets forth the basic information (who is getting what, etc), but I must also attempt to project, anticipate and minimize any problems in the future. For an example of this, if the Wife has a Discover credit card with a balance of approximately $10,000, the responsibility of this debt (to the extent possible) should not be given to the husband because if the husband defaults on the credit card payment, Discover Card will almost certainly pursue the wife. Therefore, in the example given above, this problem can be prevented by making sure that the wife assumes the Discover card debt and that if needed, another asset be transferred to the wife to off-set the Discover card debt.
Sometimes, however, problems arise after the Divorce Decree is finalized. In those instances, it may be necessary for a party to “enforce” a provision of the Divorce Decree. The aggrieved party typically brings a Motion to enforce the pertinent provision of the Divorce Decree. In plain words, the motion would tell the Judge that the offending party was supposed to do certain things; that the offending party has deliberately and willfully not complied with the Court Order and has not done those things; and that the Court should hold the offending party in Contempt of Court for not following the Court Order. There are different remedies available for different issues. For example, if one spouse has been ordered to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance and s/he willfully and deliberately (without any legitimate excuse) does not pay this amount, the other spouse can request the Court to hold the offending party “in Contempt of Court” (which may include jail time, suspension of drivers license, suspension of an occupational license, civil fines, attorney fees and costs, etc). Obtaining the remedy of Contempt is not easy; one has to follow strict procedures and it has to be established that the offending party is acting deliberately and without any legitimate excuse.
- Read parenting time statute: link
- Read parenting time dispute resolution statute: link
- Read modification of custody statute: link
- Read mediation statute: link