I’ve written 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.
I find that one of the things people fail to understand 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 but if you don’t pursue your legal rights the situation will not be dealt with properly.
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 to Respond to a Defiant Ex:
You have to use the legal required 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.
There are three avenues open to anyone who needs to use the court to enforce a standing divorce court order. You have the choice of:
- Hiring an attorney for assistance,
- Filing a Pro Se motion with the courts,
- Or, working with a local agency.
Hiring 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.
Becoming 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.
Using 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 here. Click on the link and file a request for services 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.