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Post-Divorce: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Your divorce was ugly, but it ended. You thought you had a court order in place that would prevent you from being treated poorly by your ex. You thought your nightmare was over. Now, you realize that your ex hasn't changed.

Perhaps she has ignored your right of first refusal clause or he has refused to agree to an out-of-country vacation. Maybe you aren't receiving the child support you are due or you have been denied access to your children. If the other party is ignoring your court order, it may be time to bring them back to court.

How to Enforce Your Family Court Order

The first step is to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause along with a statement of how the other party has disobeyed your divorce decree or other family court order. While the document is fairly easy to fill out, how you fill it out can make a difference in your case. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney before you file your paperwork. You will need to serve the motion on your ex.

What happens next depends on where you live. In Utah County, for example, a court commissioner will review your motion and decide whether to hold a hearing. If you are asked to come into court, be sure to be there, dressed nicely, on the date and at the time you have been given. If it is an evidentiary hearing, you or your attorney will need to prepare to present all evidence in your favor.

The court will make a decision and may issue a judgment. Depending on the circumstances, this may be a judgment for past due child support, an order to make up parent-time or some other order that could include an award for attorney fees.

Protecting the Future

Bringing a Motion for an Order to Show Cause is one way to ensure that your ex complies with your order, but there may be other ways such as through mediation or a settlement between your attorneys. Consider whether bringing a motion is necessary, keeping in mind that court actions often add to the tension. If there are other means to settle your disagreement that could lead to a stronger/less contentious working relationship, then it's important to consider them. An attorney can help you decide what is best for your unique situation.

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