DC Divorce Agreement Enforcement 

A divorce agreement is almost always incorporated into the divorce order. An agreement in and of itself is a legally binding document that can be enforced through the courts.  Additionally, when an agreement is incorporated into an order of the court, the provisions of that agreement become the order of the court, which means that there are serious ramifications if those provisions are violated.

Neither party can unilaterally modify a final divorce order— only the court has the power to do so. So, if one party to the order fails to abide by its terms, the other party can petition the court to hold that spouse in contempt or to otherwise seek DC divorce agreement enforcement. If you want to know more about DC divorce agreements or want legal assistance trying to enforce your divorce agreement, speak with a skilled DC divorce lawyer today.

Proof Needed to Show Violation of the Agreement

The party who is seeking to hold the other party in contempt will bear the burden of proof, which means that they will have to present evidence to the court that is adequate for the court to find that the other party was in willful and intentional violation of the court order. This means that they need to show that the other party knew of the court order and understood the terms of it, which is typically easy to do in a divorce proceeding.

But, they must also show that the party who is being held in violation of the court order had the ability to comply with the order, but intentionally took actions in violation of that order and that they had no good reasons for not complying. In doing so, they can begin the process of DC divorce agreement enforcement.

Examples of Agreement Violations

So, an example might be if someone feels that their former spouse is violating a divorce decree because they are not abiding by the custodial schedule or they are not allowing them to see the children on the days that the divorce decree states that they have the visitation rights.

An individual will have to prove that their spouse understood that they were willfully violating that court order and that they had no good reason to deny someone the right that they are entitled to under the court order. If they come to court and they have a reasonable explanation of why that date might not have worked out, then it is unlikely that a finding of contempt will be ordered.

Another example would be repeatedly failing to pay child support. That is usually more likely to result in a contempt order being entered against the non-paying spouse, as the courts do not look kindly on repeated explanations as to why one was not able to make their child support payment.

Benefit of an Attorney

An attorney can be helpful as often the threat of going to court is enough to get compliance from a former spouse and compliance with the divorce decree is always the ultimate goal, which is why the court will give them the chance to rectify their violation of the court order before holding them in contempt.

Having a lawyer who can give you information about the DC divorce agreement enforcement process, and who can take an informed and neutral look at the situation to determine whether or not going to court is in your best interest can enable you to put pressure on your spouse before actually going to court. In doing so, you and your attorney can work together to get them to abide by the terms of the divorce decree without wasting time and resources.