After a Final Judgment of Divorce (“divorce decree”) is entered by the trial court, the parties are legally obligated to abide by the provisions that are contained within it. After thirty days have expired from the date the divorce decree was entered, certain provisions pertaining to the division of property become non-modifiable. Those provisions pertaining to support obligations (including child support and alimony), child custody, and visitation may thereafter be modified if the party requesting such modification can meet the applicable burden of proof. In order to seek a modification of a divorce decree, a petition must be filed with the trial court.
The legal obligations either party may have within a divorce decree can be enforced by filing an appropriate petition with the trial court. If the trial court finds that a party to the divorce decree has willfully failed and refused to comply with the legal obligations contained therein, the trial court has the discretion and authority to either force that party to comply or punish the non-compliant party by the exercise of its contempt powers. In an appropriate case, and if certain defenses fail, the trial court can enter monetary judgments against the non-compliant party that include the accrual of interest, order that the non-compliant party is incarcerated until he or she elects to comply, incarcerate the non-compliant party as punishment for up to five days for each and every separate finding of non-compliance, and/or order the non-compliant party to pay the attorney fees that the petitioner has incurred for having to seek enforcement of the divorce decree.
At Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C., our experienced litigators are prepared to discuss any modification or enforcement actions that may be warranted. We can also defend clients in modification and enforcement actions. If you would like to schedule a consultation with any of our lawyers to discuss any divorce matter, post-divorce modification or enforcement issues, family law matter, or the possibility of an appeal from any final judgment, please do so by locating this information under the particular lawyer’s attorney profile