What To Do When Your Ex Defies A Divorce Court Order

Updated 04/13/19
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt. Getty Images 

There are legal steps you can take if your ex defies a divorce court order. There are plenty of articles on modifying child support or filing a contempt of court petition for those who need help navigating their way through the process of returning to court after the divorce is final. But what about the ex who defies divorce court orders? 

A common misconception is that the courts are set up to deal with issues that arise post-divorce. There is a legal procedure in place to take care of problems such as defiance of a divorce court order but if you don’t pursue your legal rights the situation will not be dealt with properly. It is imperative to take things into your hands should a problem arise.

If you have an ex who defies a court order, you will have to use the family court system in order to hold the ex responsible. For example, if your ex:

  • Fails to pay court ordered child support,
  • Interferes with a court ordered visitation schedule,
  • Or, enters your home without authorization or harasses you.

How You Should Respond to a Defiant Ex

You have to use the legal procedure available to you and have the matter brought before a judge. You or your lawyer have to file a motion with the court dealing with the specific issue before you will get relief from the issue.

You can’t live without the money needed to take care of your children because you think you have no legal recourse. You can’t go months at a time without seeing your children because you think you have no legal recourse. 

There are many reasons people choose to live with the consequences of a defiant ex. They may feel they can’t afford an attorney. They may fear repercussions from their ex should they take legal steps. The longer they delay utilizing the court, the longer they suffer without cause. Don't let fear stop you from getting the justice you were promised after your divorce hearing. 

Your Options for Legal Recourse When an Ex Defies a Court Order 

There are 3 avenues open to anyone who needs to use the court to enforce a standing divorce court order. Read on about each option and find the best one for your situation. 

Hire an Attorney

If you can afford an attorney this should be the route you take. Using a divorce attorney will mean your case gets immediate attention from someone who knows the correct procedures to follow. It is always best, when possible to have an advocate who knows the “ins and outs” of working within the Family Court System.

Become a Pro Se Litigant

If you can’t afford an attorney and legal help is not available through any other agency you can file a motion or petition with the courts without an attorney. Your local court clerk can be a valuable tool should you decide to move forward without an attorney.

You can file an original petition for divorce and petition to modify child support with a little research and help from local court resources. Most states offer online resources for pro se litigants. Some states even have attorneys who help you with the paperwork needed to file a motion or petition. Not being able to afford an attorney is no reason to suffer the consequences of a defiant ex.

Use a Local Agency

You can turn to your local police department for help with an ex who is harassing or stalking you after your divorce. Child support enforcement agencies can be used to help collect back child support. Legal Aid is an excellent resource for litigants who can’t afford an attorney.

You can find a list of child support enforcement agencies online. When you find one, the first thing to do is file a request for services in order to get the ball rolling. To find help via a legal aid office you will need to Google your state’s name and “legal aid.” 

If a defiant ex is making life miserable there are too many outlets available for you not to protect yourself and your rights. Take action, be strong, and regain the control an angry ex-spouse can cause you to lose due to their insolent actions or non-action. 

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