What to Do if Your Former Spouse Disobeys Court Orders or Divorce Judgments

What to Do if Your Former Spouse Disobeys Court Orders or Divorce Judgments

Once a judgment has been granted in a divorce proceeding, it is natural to assume that the most challenging part of the legal proceedings is over. Unfortunately, sometimes an ex-spouse does not comply with a court order. However, you can take steps to ensure that your ex-spouse is held accountable. An Edmonton divorce lawyer may be able to help you understand your enforcement options and advise you of your next steps when an ex-spouse breaches a court order.

In Alberta, divorce proceedings are governed by the Divorce Act and the provincial Family Law Act when determining orders for child and spousal support, parenting arrangements, child protection, and guardianship issues. These orders are enforceable by law.

Enforcing Parenting Time

If your ex-spouse is non-compliant with court-ordered parenting time, you must first advise the court of the breach. If your court order does not explicitly describe parenting time, you may need to amend your current court order. However, if it is clear on this matter, you must contact a family court counselor in your jurisdiction to make a court application to enforce parenting time.

An Edmonton divorce lawyer may be able to help you prepare and file the necessary paperwork, serve the other party with legal documents, and represent you in any necessary court proceedings.

Penalties for denying court-ordered parenting time can include a requirement for make-up visits, police enforcement of visitation, financial penalties, and even jail time. If your ex-spouse does not return your child after a visit, the police may get involved, and the non-compliant party may be responsible for financial penalties or incur jail time.

Enforcing Spousal and Child Support

Alberta's Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) allows individuals to collect court-ordered child support, spousal support, and partner support and enforce these as required. To register for the MEP, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You or the other party must reside in Alberta
  2. You must either be a payor or recipient of partner support, child support, or spousal support
  3. A court order for support or Maintenance Order or Maintenance Agreement must be filed with the court

The MEP does not provide legal representation or advice to clients. We recommend that if you have not yet filed a court order, you contact an Alberta-based family lawyer to assist with this process and ensure your rights are protected. Our Edmonton divorce lawyers have many years of experience processing Maintenance Enforcement Program requests on behalf of our clients.

Although spousal and child support is enforceable by law, you may not prevent a parent from seeing their child based on a failure to meet support obligations unless the court finds otherwise. If this creates a hostile environment when transferring the children, you may wish to consider doing the exchange in a public location or through a neutral third party.

Child Protection

If a party disobeys a "no-contact" order, such as a restraining or protection order, arrest and criminal charges may apply. An Edmonton divorce lawyer may be able to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. If you have immediate concerns for your or someone else's safety, please call the police.

Contact our Verhaeghe Family Lawyers Today

If your ex-spouse has breached the terms of a court order, our Edmonton law firm ;may be able to help. Contact us today for more information and to schedule a consultation.

* Please note that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice but rather as a general overview of family law. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

6 Things to do Before Filing for Divorce

Going through a divorce can be emotionally straining on all parties involved. To help prepare you for this difficult journey, here are seven things you need to do before you file for divorce.

Your Financial Situation
What you own versus what you owe. During an ideal divorce settlement, you and your spouse are trying to equally divide up marital assets and debts. To do that, the two of you need to determine all obvious (house, car, accounts) and non-obvious (possible inheritance, pension plans and so on) assets. Then figure out any and all debts regardless of whose name is on it.

Collect Proof of Income
If you and your spouse are paid through salaries, your last pay statement and recent income tax return is all the proof of income you’ll need. If either of you are self-employed, you’ll need to provide the courts with both bank account and financial business statements so they’ll have a clear understanding of your financial situation.

Post-Divorce Budget
This is where you start to plan out your life after your divorce has been finalized. Hopefully, by now, you understand what it takes to run a household and keep yourself afloat. Whether you have children or are on your own, it’s important to break down exactly what you’ll be able to afford. Determine what your top priorities will be in your new life while your divorce is still in process.

Establish Self Credit
For your own success, it’s always good to have a credit card in your name, especially when going through a divorce. You can build up a good score that will allow you to easily be approved for a car or home. This would be difficult if you only had a shared credit score that your partner wasn’t as interested in keeping up as you were.

Deal with Joint Accounts
If you fear your spouse may clear out your joint financial accounts out of anger, talk to your lawyer about it. They’ll most likely instruct you to open your own account and deposit half of the funds from your joint accounts. Be open and smart about this choice, as it can come back to bite you if you start spending foolishly.

Don’t forget to close joint credit accounts as well. Do this before the divorce proceeds to prevent an angry spouse from running up your credit card bills. Pay off whatever credit balance you have, or talk to a creditor. If neither of these is possible, freeze the accounts so neither party can access the account until the divorce is final. By then, whoever the court has chosen to deal with debt will be responsible for paying it off.

Behave Yourself
When going through a divorce, you need to be on your best behaviour, especially if your fighting for custody of your children. Be a good parent, be respectful of your spouse and don’t give their lawyers anything that could ruin your half of the settlement. Work on taking care of yourself physically and emotionally so you and your family can get through this situation.

At Edmonton’s Verhaeghe Law Office, our expert lawyers are dedicated to providing the best advice and service for our clients. If you have a civil, criminal, family or other legal cases, call or visit our website https://freedomlaw.ca/.

8 Signs You Should Hire a Canadian Divorce Lawyer (And Skip Mediation)

Canadian Divorce Lawyer
Mediation isn't the right choice for every couple. Read this article for some clear signs that you should go ahead and hire a Canadian divorce lawyer.

When the going gets tough, the tough get a lawyer.

Although mediation is a goal of many folks seeking a divorce, it isn't the best option for many.

If you are going through a divorce and aren't sure you'll make it through, there is help. You don't have to go through a divorce alone.

A qualified Canadian divorce lawyer can negotiate on your behalf. Rather than fighting with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, take the high road, and let a lawyer help you.

Here are eight reasons you should seek the help of a divorce lawyer instead of mediation.

You Faced Abuse During Your Marriage

Abuse or violence within a marriage is more than enough reason to end something. If you were the victim, feelings of fear are normal when being near the abuser.

Abuse takes place in many forms including:

Even if you are getting out of the marriage, facing or standing up to the abuser is daunting at best, and impossible at worse. Don't let these feelings get in the way of seeking what is rightfully yours.

A Canadian divorce lawyer is present at court with you. They will explain your case to the judge and make an argument on behalf of you.

During an emotional time, this is a valuable support that is instrumental in giving you back your strength.

You Have Too Much Animosity

Feelings of anger, frustration, and hurt are normal in any divorce proceeding. Unfournatley, these feelings need to go on hold when working toward a mediation.

If you've experienced problems such as:

  • Being cheated on
  • Your partner threatening you

These are times when animosity runs high, and it's best to seek outside assistance. A qualified Canadian divorce lawyer will focus on the goals you are trying to achieve in the divorce.

This eliminates the need for mediation and allows you to go to a third party.

You Cannot Advocate for Yourself

Divorce leaves many folks unsure of the future. If you are being stalked at work, harassed on the phone, or are not in an emotional state to defend yourself, you need an outside advocate.

If you are facing other outside problems such as:

  • Moving
  • Losing a job
  • Death of a loved one

This is trying enough to deal with on top of a divorce. Your mental and emotional state feel drained, and you cannot make the best decisions for yourself.

Having a professional who is used to helping folks in your situation is a safe alternative. It allows you to get everything you are owed, without being taken advantage of.

You Want a Divorce as Quickly as Possible

If you want a divorce as quickly as possible, you'll have faster results working with a Canadian divorce lawyer, instead of mediation. This is because uncontested divorces are the quickest.

An uncontested divorce means you both agree on the terms set and are ready to end the marriage. By choosing the services of a lawyer, you aren't constantly meeting with your spouse and playing games or going back and forth.

Having a no-nonsense plan in place means your divorce heads to court quickly and you move on with your life.

You Don't Want a Mediation

It's important to understand that when pursuing mediation, this is something both parties must want. Mediators are present to guide, not make hard and fast decisions for others.

If mediation is not something you're interested in pursuing, save yourself and everyone else time. Use a lawyer to help negotiate what you would like from your divorce.

Money Is Not an Object

Almost everyone would love to say that money is no object when dealing with a major expense. If you have money in the form of savings, a large bank account, or assistance from a caring family member, now is the time to take advantage of it.

While you can find a Canadian divorce lawyer who is affordable, be aware that your case could be continued if your spouse chooses to drag things out.

Having a lawyer helps expedite your court case, rather than trying to do it yourself.

You Need Qualified Advice From One Who Understands

If you've never gone to court before, feelings of uneasiness are common. Not only are you in a difficult situation, but you are dealing with mental and emotional problems that are normal in any divorce.

Don't feel stuck on all the details of court and what the next steps are when you have so much on your plate already. Your lawyer will work with you by:

  • Letting you know what to expect at each step of your divorce
  • Showing you different options that are available
  • Requiring your soon-to-be-ex to put all communication through them, rather than you
  • Explaining how the court process works, and estimate how long your case will take

Essentially, you are outsourcing most of the work related to the divorce to someone who is in a position to help you. If you are going through a lot of other stressors right now, this is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Let a Canadian Divorce Lawyer Help if The Paperwork Seems Daunting

Paperwork is stressful for everyone. if going through a court system and filing papers is something new, understand you don't have to do this all yourself.

A lawyer who knows about the various types of paperwork can help you file all your divorce paperwork and other issues in relation to matters like:

  • Child custody
  • Name changes
  • Revising wills

Although these are a lot of changes to deal with, your lawyer can help you navigate the unfamiliar waters.

Let Us Help

If you find yourself in the middle of a divorce and feel mediation is not in your best interests, you have options.

Contact us, and understand you don't have to go through this process alone. A qualified Canadian divorce lawyer can walk with you, every step of the way.