Going through a divorce can be long and difficult. It can be emotionally draining and taxing on all your relationships. When you finally reach an agreement for support, it can feel like the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand, the light at the end of the tunnel could be another train coming in your direction: failure of your spouse to fulfill their new obligations.
Someone once said that divorced men are more likely to meet their car payments than their child support obligations. And it appears the numbers agree.
This is a common problem
According to census figures, the majority of ex-husbands do not honor the financial terms of their divorce settlements. The numbers show that just 43 percent of custodial parents received all payments that were due. Nearly 31 percent received some, but not all payments, while nearly 26 percent never received a single payment. To contrast, 107 million Americans have auto loan debt, while 6 million are behind in their payments. That means just 5.6 percent are not meeting their car obligations.
Some of the problems you may face when doesn’t follow through on his divorce decree include:
- Enforcing obligations to pay spousal maintenance or child support
- Compliance with custody and parenting agreements, custody schedules for instance
- Non-payment of divided debts
- Failure to put the family home up for sale or refinance to remove the ex-spouse
- Improper division of assets or failure to divide them at all
What can I do about it?
You have several options if your spouse is not following through on their portion of the divorce decree:
- You can wait: However, the above census data suggests you may be waiting a long time—and according to the same data, women were twice as likely as men to be living in poverty after the divorce.
- You can offer your planning expertise: Most divorce decrees are missing the action plan to help implement the divorce order. This step-by-step plan would spell out the necessary logistical actions (in order of priority), along with a timetable for achieving them.
- You can use your attorney: An experienced divorce attorney can help protect you when your spouse is not following through on their obligations or agreements. This may be the most effective of your options.
When your former spouse fails to fulfill his divorce decree obligations, things may look bleak, but there is legal recourse—and there is hope. As Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”