What to Do If Your Ex Refuses to Follow a Court Order

When a family court issues an order, it expects that the parties will follow it. If your spouse—or ex-spouse—refuses to comply with an existing court order, a family law attorney can help you understand your available options. In some cases, your best choice is to file a Rule to Show Cause or a Contempt Action.

Common court orders that are not followed in family law include:

  • Failure to pay spousal support;
  • Failure to pay child support;
  • Failure to follow a parenting time order;
  • Failure to provide health insurance; and
  • Failure to sell marital property or move out of the marital home.

What is a Rule to Show Cause?

A Rule to Show Cause is your opportunity to tell the court that your ex is not complying with the court’s orders. It can also be used to address compliance with temporary orders during the divorce process. The filing should set forth the specific ways the court’s orders are not being followed. The document will be filed with the court and also sent to your ex. The court will then hold a hearing to determine if the order is being followed and, if not, what steps should be taken to remedy the situation.

How Will the Court Decide?

At the hearing, you must prove that there was an order in place and that the order was not followed. This is typically shown through testimony given by witnesses. Proving non-compliance can be difficult without the help of an attorney. The judge will also look to see if the non-compliant spouse had a reason to refuse the order.

A judge may make a modification to the order or he may hold the non-compliant spouse in contempt. A judge may decide that if a parent is interfering with visitation (parenting time), that the parent’s own visitation time will be reduced.

A judge may determine that one spouse should pay for the attorney’s fees incurred in conjunction with the Rule to Show Cause. It is often difficult to predict exactly what will happen, but fines and jail are usually a last resort. Jail time is typically reserved for parties who continually act in defiance of a court order.

Benefits of Hiring an Illinois Family Lawyer

An experienced DuPage County family law attorney can evaluate your situation and help you determine the best course of action. Your lawyer will be able to assist you in deciding if the court order violation is serious enough to warrant going before a judge. Bringing a small violation up to the court may not always be in your best interests. Call Abear Law Offices at 630-904-3033 today to schedule your free initial consultation at any of our five convenient locations.