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Georgia Divorce Contempt Actions

A contempt action is available to enforce the terms of a divorce decree.  That is to say, if your ex-spouse fails to abide by the terms of your divorce decree, you can file a contempt action to enforce your rights under your divorce decree.  A contempt action is a legal proceeding that can result in harsh sanctions.  A judge can require the non-compliant spouse to pay for all of the attorneys’ fee associated with the contempt action and can also sentence the non-compliant spouse to jail time until they purge themselves of their contempt. 

Filing a Contempt Action

Filing a contempt action is similar to filing any other type of legal action.  A contempt action is filed with the Clerk of Court and must be served on your ex-spouse.  Your ex-spouse will be allowed thirty days to file a response.  After the response is filed, there will be a hearing.  At the hearing, both you and your ex-spouse will be given the opportunity to testify and present evidence.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will determine if a violation of the divorce decree has occurred and will issue sanctions as appropriate.  Just like any other action, you and your ex-spouse can reach an agreement on the issues underlying the contempt. 

Modifying the Terms of a Divorce Decree

The occasion may arise to modify your divorce decree.  Your financial situation may change or the needs of your children as they relate to custody, support and visitation may vary as over time.  It’s important to understand that only the judge can alter the terms of your divorce decree.  Any side agreement that you may reach with your ex-spouse does not comply with Georgia law unless it is contained in a court order.  Accordingly, any side agreement could lead to a contempt action. 

Hiring an Attorney

Divorce decrees are not intended to be eternal, but some parts cannot be changed once  decree has been entered.  Facts and circumstances change and may necessitate a modification of your divorce decree to ensure compliance with the court’s order.  The failure to comply with a divorce decree could lead to a contempt action.  Whether you find yourself needing to file a contempt action or to defend against a contempt allegation, The Zdrilich Law Group has the necessary experience to help.  Contact The Zdrilich Law Group today for a consultation.