Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Did your ex-spouse fail to comply with the divorce settlement?

After spending weeks and perhaps months coming to an agreement to end your marriage, you expected your spouse to keep up his or her end of the bargain. Now, your ex-spouse is not complying with the divorce settlement. New Jersey law allows you to go back to court to enforce the settlement, or in the alternative, to modify the agreement if you -- or your ex-spouse -- are unable to comply with it due to a substantial change in your circumstances.

Many post-divorce actions involve a failure of one party to make child support or spousal support payments. If your divorce was contentious, you and your ex-spouse might not be able to sit down and talk about the situation. You would have no way of knowing whether your former spouse is experiencing a financial hardship and is unable to make the payments. Of course, there is also the possibility that he or she is still harboring ill feelings and believes that by not making the payments, you are being "punished" somehow.

In any case, either you can ask the court to enforce the settlement, or your former spouse can ask that it be modified. Considering the fact that your future and financial stability is more than likely at stake, it would not be advisable to attempt to undergo another round in court without assistance. A New Jersey attorney can help determine the best course of action for you and your family.

Whether you are the one seeking to have the divorce settlement enforced or the one who needs it to be modified, simply making an agreement with your ex-spouse without going back to court could cause you problems in the future. The settlement is the controlling document, and oral agreements are not enforceable under most circumstances. Regardless of the issue, you have options.

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