Efficient, Effective and Dedicated Counsel

What to do if an ex-spouse isn’t honoring their divorce agreement

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce settlements often involve the execution of unique conditions based on a couple’s circumstances. For example, perhaps they share a mortgage and one spouse has agreed to cover half of the mortgage costs for a set amount of time. Maybe they agreed to make regular alimony or spousal support payments to their lower-earning spouse.

Such terms can be the result of mutual agreement after negotiations, terms set in a prenuptial agreement or a judge’s ruling in a litigated Rhode Island divorce. Those with a court order outlining specific financial obligations for their spouses have rights but may still feel nervous about their situation. Being financially dependent on an ex-spouse after divorce is a very vulnerable situation.

Even when there are court orders on record, a former spouse could always potentially fail to follow through on their obligations. How can someone who expects financial support from a former spouse protect themselves when they do not receive the alimony or mortgage contributions required in their divorce settlement?

Going back to court may be necessary

The unfortunate truth for someone dealing with a recalcitrant spouse who does not uphold their agreement is that an amicable resolution outside of court is unlikely. Therefore, gathering documentation is important. Someone who has not received support or other financial contributions agreed upon as part of a divorce settlement can collect late payment notices, bank statements and other records affirming the disruption to their financial settlement. They may then need to take the matter back to family court.

Rhode Island family law judges have the authority to enforce an existing order. They can take legal action against the spouse who has become non-compliant, possibly including declaring them in contempt of court. A judge can impose penalties that make cooperation seem more desirable for the non-compliant spouse. They can sometimes even modify an existing order to reflect someone’s prior non-compliance.

It can be very difficult to remain objective when fighting back against the financial manipulations of a former spouse. Those in Rhode Island hoping to enforce a support order or property division settlements often need help determining what step to take next and preparing to present their case in family court. Ultimately, seeking legal assistance can help people overcome situations that they may otherwise find to be financially devastating.