What should I do if my ex-husband does not comply with our marital settlement agreement?

Question:   What should I do if my ex-husband does not comply with our marital settlement agreement?

Attorney Craig VanThiel Craig’s Answer:

Once a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is executed by the parties and accepted by the judge it is the law and all parties must abide by it or suffer the posabilty of civil and/or criminal repercussions.  Depending on the issue there are many and different options available for enforcement.  Most often the client first choice is prosecution for contempt.  The reality is that it is VERY rare for anyone to go to jail for contempt so it usually ends up being an expensive way to get minimal results.

It is usually best to discuss with your divorce attorney what aspect of the MSA is not being complied with.  A good attorney will then discuss the action that is likely to get the best results with the least outlay of your hard earned money.  The actions for enforcement can vary for example:

Enforce against a parent failing to provide visitation – An action to modify the custody and visitation to address the non compliance by providing more custody to the complying parent or possibly even reverse the custody arangment.

Enforce the sale of home or other real estate – Motion to appoint an elisor to execute the documents necessary for the non -offending party to list, sell and close the home.

Enforce a child support order against a non-paying parent – file a wage assignment or file motion to require paying parent to supply a bond to guarantee payment.

For additional information please review the information available on the divorce section of our site at or contact the Divorce Attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel LLP at (760) 722-7646.