You entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement and your divorce was finalized. You and your ex-spouse agreed to parenting time, custody, alimony, and equitable distribution. Everything you disagreed about has been resolved and, while you may not have gotten everything you wanted, you are finally divorced and both parties are supposed to be complying with the terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement.
What if you go to pick up your kids from school during your parenting time and your ex-spouse has decided to pick them up first, interfering with your parenting time?
What if you were supposed to receive a lump sum from your ex-spouse as a part of your equitable distribution, but they are now refusing to pay?
Perhaps you were supposed to close out your joint bank account and receive 50% of the funds, but your ex-spouse has denied you access and is refusing to pay you your share.
Maybe your ex-spouse unilaterally scheduled a vacation with the children without giving you the proper notice required by your Marital Settlement Agreement.
How is a person supposed to respond to these violations of a Marital Settlement Agreement? As grandma always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Too often, individuals engage in what is referred to as “self-help.” This means that the person who feels their ex-spouse has violated the agreement, retaliates, intending “to do unto them as they have done unto you.” This can mean picking up the kids on your ex-spouse’s weekend or day or refusing to pay or comply with a portion of the agreement until your ex-spouse “changes their tune.”
To the lay person, this may seem like a form of justice, but in reality, this kind of “self-help” is frowned upon by the Courts. There are appropriate legal options available to individuals who are divorced from an ex-spouse who refuses to comply with a Marital Settlement Agreement.
If your spouse is not complying with your Marital Settlement Agreement, the Family Law team at Cohn Lifland can help you ensure that your Judgment of Divorce and Marital Settlement Agreement is followed by going through the proper channels.