Failing to Comply With Divorce Decree in Arizona


While a divorce itself is difficult enough to deal with, what makes it a whole lot worse is when one party is doing everything they can to make it as unbearable as possible. Whether it is the allegations they make during the divorce proceedings, the way they address you, or the level of communication that occurs, some people just want to make it so challenging that it is the worst experience imaginable.

This type of behavior doesn’t do much besides slow down the proceedings and prove that the divorce is necessary. Where it can really start to take a negative effect is if it gets carried into the aftermath of the divorce decree. If you have been through a divorce and your ex-spouse is failing to comply with the divorce decree, seek out the assistance of a skilled divorce decree attorney.

Failure to Comply With Divorce Decree

Here is the situation; the judge has made a divorce decree official and now both parties are required by law to abide by these rules. You are doing everything that is required of you in the decree, however your ex-spouse is not holding true to their part of the decree. This is not only frustrating but can create some serious issues.

The most common actions that ex-spouses fail to perform are:

The reasons behind an ex-spouse behaving in this way vary, but typically it either stubbornness or an inability to relinquish a feeling of power they feel they hold over their ex-spouse. Regardless of why they are behaving this way, the bottom line is that they have been ordered by the court to do something and if they are not doing it, they will face legal ramifications.

Legal Ramifications of Non-Compliance with Court Ordered Divorce Decree

Judges and attorneys will refer to ARS 13-2810, which explains the laws that go with interfering with judicial proceedings and court orders.

Judges do not take situations like these lightly and depending on how this person was behaving during the divorce proceedings, they could face some serious consequences. It is important to remember that even though you went through a divorce proceeding, it is up to the judge to decide what is the fairest situation. With that being said, failure to comply with a divorce decree could see the judge change the divorce decree.

If one party is unable to follow a divorce decree a judge may make the following changes to the final decree:

  • reduce the failing party’s child custody time (or remove their ability to have custody at all)
  • increase the amount of child support that needs to be paid
  • increase the amount of alimony that needs to be paid
  • give the behaving spouse marital assets

So, as you can tell, there is absolutely no point in not abiding by the divorce decree. It will only result in negative consequences for the party that is refusing the abide by the rules that the judge has set. If for whatever reason your ex-spouse still is not abiding by these rules, they can be arrested and put in jail.

*note* – a judge may decide to arrest the failing party before performing any of the above actions.

Why Complying to a Divorce Decree is Important?

The most important thing in any divorce proceeding is that everything is being done with the child’s best interest in mind. Judges and attorneys want to do everything in their power to make sure that the children involved in the divorce are not too emotionally damaged by these proceedings. According to studies done by the US Institute of National Health, children of divorce are more likely to drop out of school, get in trouble with the law, abuse alcohol and drugs and have higher rates of depression.

The entire point of determining custody and parenting time is in order to set a child up for the best possible chance for success. When one of the parents fails to comply with their divorce decree, they are not only breaking a legal binding contract, but they could be severely harming their child.

Even when children are not involved in a divorce, failure to comply with a divorce decree can have serious negative effects on both parties. A divorce decree stands as a legal binding document to make sure that each ex-spouse is fairly set up to succeed after the divorce is finalized. If one of the parties relies on money from receiving alimony payments and is not getting these payments, they may become delinquent on bills, rent, or even not be able to pay for food.

Divorce is difficult for many reasons, but do not so quickly forget that this was once a person you cared enough about to get married to. Acting civil is the best possible way to deal with your divorce and the best way for you to move forward with your life.

How to Enforce a Divorce Decree

There are several things that you should do to enforce a divorce decree, but the very first thing you should do is contact a divorce decree attorney. These attorneys not only know and have experience with divorce cases, but they know how to make the best of a difficult situation.

There are also community resources that you can use to help enforce a divorce decree, such as the child welfare office. However, due to the large number of cases they have to deal with and their low amount of staffing, this may be a time consuming option. A large portion of divorced single moms rely on child support to pay their bills and feed their children, working with an attorney will make sure that you have the resources you need to make sure this situation is taken care of as soon as possible.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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