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What to Do When Your Ex Doesn’t Follow a Divorce Decree

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Upon getting a divorce, ex-spouses can reasonably expect obligations outlined in the divorce decree to be honored. On occasion, however, an ex-spouse may fail to abide by the judge’s terms. In these scenarios, you have the right to seek enforcement of the divorce decree through the courts.

What is a divorce decree?

Divorce AgreementOnce the marriage legally ends through divorce proceedings, the court issues a divorce decree. This document contains various details, including the reasons the marriage dissolved. The decree indicates what each divorcee must do in terms of property division, child support and parental time.

An ex-spouse may not always fully comply with the terms outlined in the decree. Noncompliance with the court-issued decree may be handled by first referring to the decree to determine the ex-spouse’s responsibilities and then pursuing enforcement through the courts.

A divorce can take months or years to finalize. In the event of a trial, the judge evaluates all evidence and testimonies to arrive at a decision. Child custody, alimony, property division and child support are considered—and are written in a decree. Upon settling a case, the decree is issued.

Remember the divorce becomes final on the date the court signs the decree. The ex-spouses are likely to receive the decree a few days after the signing since the document is routed to the divorce lawyer. The attorney then forwards a copy of the decree to the client.

What happens when an ex-spouse doesn’t follow the divorce decree?


When an ex-spouse does not fulfill the obligations as outlined in the decree, the other spouse should take action to get those needs met. Before taking steps to file a motion for the decree to be enforced by the courts, the ex-spouse should ensure all personal responsibilities are being satisfied.

The ex-spouse who violates the terms of the divorce decree without approaching the court for modification is in contempt of the court (which means the individual is guilty of disobedience to the courts). The court that issued the decree has the power to enforce all aspects of the divorce decree.

But here’s what to do if your ex doesn’t follow the divorce decree.

1. Determine the violations

Review the decree to see which provisions the ex-spouse has failed to fulfill. Examples of such failures include being late in paying child support or making spousal maintenance payments. The ex-spouse may have violated child custody or parental time as ordered by the judge.

Or, property distribution orders may have been violated. For instance, an ex-spouse may be guilty of neglecting to transfer title to real estate or other assets as awarded by the judge upon the divorce. Document these violations for support of your case.

2. Gather evidence

Serving-your-Spouse-Summons-How-to-File-for-DivorceAn important part of facilitating a successful intervention through the courts is to provide substantial evidence of the other party’s violations of the divorce decree. Examples of the types of documents that serve as proof of the ex-spouse’s noncompliance include written communications and financial records.

These documentations are critical and intended to support the injured party’s case once the court enforcement takes place. The burden of proof is on the injured party. Be prepared to back up all accusations of noncompliance with ample documentation and proof of contempt.

3. File a motion for contempt of court

Respond to the violation of the terms of the divorce decree by filing a motion for contempt of court. This process may be initiated pro-se litigant, and the injured party should call the court clerk for information about what forms to independently file.

The court clerk will help to determine whether the injured ex-spouse should file a motion for civil contempt of court, motion for enforcement or an alternate action. The clerk will also provide information about laws surrounding how the ex-spouse will be served the contempt motion.

Filing a motion for contempt of court may also be done through an attorney. The motion indicates which parts of the divorce decree were violated and the reason the ex-spouse should be held in contempt of court. Although the lawyer serves the ex, the injured party is responsible for proof.

The ex-spouse has the opportunity to respond to the motion. The judge may give the guilty party a chance to immediately rectify the aspect of the divorce decree he or she has violated; or, the judge may provide a time frame within which to do so.

The court will set a date for a hearing. If the guilty party is found to be in contempt of court, the judge can specify how the ex-spouse may purge himself or herself of the contempt. Jail time for as long as the contempt continues is also a realistic possibility.

Each state is different when it comes to jail time or early release for being in contempt of the court. No time in jail may be warranted when the guilty party has lost a job, sustained a physical or emotional disability, or has no one to care for dependent children.

Get Help from a Divorce Attorney

A divorce decree is legally binding, and the courts will uphold it with due process of law. If you are unable to comply with the terms of the decree, bring up the situation with your attorney or the courts. The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will help.

Cheri-Costa-Family-Divorce-Attorney-Oak-Lawn-ILOur firm of dedicated divorce attorneys will also assist you in the event your ex-spouse violates the terms of the divorce decree. If you have a post-decree issue, we will represent you in court and ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

In addition to divorce decree issues, Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. provide expert legal counsel in regard to various divorce matters. Our experience includes working on cases involving domestic violence, spousal support, division of property, child custody and allocation of parental responsibilities.

Families and individuals living in Oak Lawn, Illinois, turn to Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. for knowledgeable legal advice and competitive representation. Rest assured our divorce lawyers will work diligently to arrive at the most optimal solutions for your individual case.

Schedule an Initial Consultation

Give Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. a call at 708-425-9530 to schedule your initial consultation with our experienced divorce attorneys.

Using Witnesses in a Divorce Trial

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In any divorce case, there are a number of methods and resources you can employ to gather evidence showing that you possess good character. For a parent, using a character witness is especially beneficial when it comes to proving their ability to care for a child.


Having a witness who speaks on your behalf can provide additional support for your case.

Choosing reliable character witnesses is a challenging task especially if you are not sure what role a witness plays in a divorce case. Therefore, in order to improve the outcome of your family law trial, you need to know what a character witness does and whether or not there is a requirement for one in your particular case and who you will ultimately choose for that role.

The Role Of A Witness In A Divorce Case

When going through a divorce, a character witness testifies about your moral character, responsibility, and other personal qualities. The court relies on this person’s word, so the witness must be very familiar with the person that they are testifying about.

If you have to use a witness or witnesses, your attorney should ask the witness questions before court. After your attorney has reviewed the questions with the witness, it will be your spouse’s attorney’s opportunity to ask their questions. But before the witness leaves, your attorney will have a final opportunity to ask any remaining questions.

The Need For A Witness In A Divorce Case

For people going through a divorce or a child custody issue or any family law related matter, it is beneficial to have a strong witness or witnesses. A witness is absolutely necessary in cases where your some allegations have been made about your character.

If your divorce case involves children, or if you are dealing with a child custody issue, a good character witness can point out your good qualities as a parent in front of the court. However, not every divorce case requires character witnesses, especially if the divorce process is amicable or if both spouses are working towards a mutually agreed upon settlement.

Choosing a Witness in a Divorce Case

Courts may not allow family members to act as character witnesses, due to certain perceived biases. So it’s advisable to have a friend, a colleague, or someone else who knows you very well to act as a character witness.

It’s always best to choose someone close to you because they have first-hand accounts of both your behavior and your spouse’s. For example, in a case where abuse has been alleged, your best friend may have seen your spouse hit you, whereas your colleagues might have only seen the bruises and other evidence of abuse.

In certain divorce cases, a witness may be used who can testify regarding both sides. For example, a nanny or housekeeper generally has firsthand experience watching the family and how each spouse behaves with their children.

Such a witness can be instrumental in testifying about the qualities of both parents. If the couple shares a business, a colleague or business partner can attest to how each person contributed to the growth of the business. Every divorce case is unique and has its own specific set of challenges. When it comes to deciding whether you need a character witness or not, it is best to consult with your attorney.

Work with an Attorney

A competent and experienced family law attorney can evaluate your situation and determine the best legal methods to employ to protect your interests.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Illinois

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Divorce is expensive, almost as expensive as getting hitched at the altar in a celebratory wedding. When it comes to proclaiming a lifetime union, couples in the United States spend on average $33,391 on a wedding. Divorce, on the other hand, costs spouses at least one-third of the dizzying cost of nuptials.

Costs to separate from a once-beloved spouse vary widely across the country. Out of all 50 states, California is the most expensive state in which to get divorced. The average divorce filing fee in the Golden State is $435, with average attorney’s fees hovering around $13,800. In contrast, one of the least expensive states in which to get divorced is North Dakota, with average divorce filing fees of $80 and average attorney fees of $8,200.Divorce-Cost-Illinois

Illinois is not an economical state in which to legally separate from a spouse. Our state is in the top 10 states with the priciest divorce fees.

On average, the cost to divorce in Illinois is $13,800. Include child custody and support, alimony, and property division into the mix, and financing a divorce sharply climbs to an average of $35,300.

Filing Fee – $289

The average fee to file for divorce in Illinois is $289, which is above the national average; while the average divorce attorney fees amble around a stark $10,900.

Couples who race toward the divorce finish line must begin their journey by filing for a divorce. The simple but necessary act of filing itself costs a few hundred dollars. Under certain circumstances, like when individuals have insufficient income to pay the divorce filing costs, the fee may be waived.

Children – $20,700

Bring children into the picture, and divorce costs skyrocket to $20,700 on average in Illinois. Disputes over child support as well as child custody battles increase the costs of divorce proceedings, especially when a judge resolves the issues. Divorcing spouses save costs significantly when they are able to settle divorce issues involving children before the case goes to trial.

Alimony – $19,100

Alimony also drives the cost of divorce upwards, in Illinois as well as in every state. Spousal support or spousal maintenance are interchangeable terms for what is known as alimony. In the Land of Lincoln, alimony spurs the costs of divorce to $19,100 on average. Spouses with unequal earning power tend to fight out alimony battles, leading to soaring divorce costs. The purpose of awarding alimony is to allow the lesser-earning spouse to live as comfortably as he or she did during the marriage.

A few situations warranty alimony:

  1. 1. After a long marriage
  2. 2. When one spouse gives up a career to support the working spouse
  3. 3. When a spouse stays at home to raise the couple’s children. The cost of alimony increases due to the necessary involvement of vocational analysts and financial experts.

Child support and alimony are two completely separate entities. Child support is intended to benefit the couple’s minor children, with financial aid going to the spouse who has custody of the children. Alimony is strictly reserved to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse until he or she becomes self-supporting.

Property Division – $19,400

High-income couples will have a high-cost divorce. The steep rise of costs in a divorce that includes property division occurs when multiple assets are involved. Couples entangled in the dissolution of marriage will zealously safeguard their retirement accounts, savings accounts, cars, brokerage accounts and real estate.

Tax experts, property appraisers, and the financial analyses necessary from legal professionals are sought out to fairly divide the assets between the divorcing parties. A judge who resolves property division matters makes this type of divorce more expensive.

When property division issues achieve resolution out of court, the cost to divorce drops significantly. On average, Illinois divorcees can expect to pay $19,400 in divorces that include property division.

Faults Increase Divorce Costs

Filing for divorce based on fault will ensure the cost of divorce is higher than average. Spouses who claim faults, like impotence, abandonment, infidelity, drug, or alcohol abuse or cruelty will witness the price of their divorce proceedings ascend markedly.

Attorney’s Hourly Rates – $260

Illinois divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee of $260 on average to proceed with the divorce. Spouses’ payments include fees for any paralegals involved, legal staff, court filings, financing the costs of expert witnesses, financial analysts, appraisers and professional child custody evaluations. Those starting on the legal path to divorce can expect to pay the attorney’s hourly rate multiplied by the total number of hours the attorney spends to complete the divorce.

Work with Experienced Attorneys

As intimidating as these costs can be, working with an attorney often proves to be the best option at the end of the day. Especially for complicated situations or if your ex-spouse is working with an attorney, it is highly recommended to work with one yourself.

This way, you will be able to secure your assets and establish an effective solution that works in your best interest. You will also be saving more money by working with an attorney to avoid a large percentage of income sent to your spouse for the remainder of your working years.

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

The family law firm of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. is experienced in helping couples navigate through and complete their divorce. Both contested and uncontested divorces are expertly handled by the divorce lawyers at our Oak Lawn firm. The combined wealth of experience between the divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. totals over 50 years.

The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are experienced in several aspects of divorce proceedings. Parental responsibilities are included in our services to help win child custody battles. Child support agreements are negotiated as are visitation rights for parents. Our divorce lawyers also help our clients through property division issues, including homes, pets, stock and vehicles, to make sure they walk away with assets to which they are fairly entitled.

Experienced with Divorce Cases


It is highly recommended to work with a divorce attorney to establish the best solution for you and your children after a divorce.

We are also experienced in settling for the most favorable level of spousal support or spousal maintenance. When post-decree issues, such as changes in income, marital status or employment, arise after the divorce is finalized, the divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. will represent you to ensure your needs are met.

The Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. firm of divorce lawyers offers a detailed case evaluation to spouses on the brink of divorce. Our lawyers are skilled and experienced in divorce practices and knowledgeable in current laws, so that you receive the best representation during your divorce proceedings and even post-divorce.

How to Get Over a Divorce

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Getting a divorce can be devastating and seem like the end of the world – almost like a part of you is gone. Or that you lost your best friend. Many people often will feel lonely, self-loathing, anxiety, and even depression after a divorce.

But the worst part is that some individuals will do things they may regret later, such as reacting irrationally or destroying property. But allowing this emotional pain and stress to consume yourself will only make everything worse, causing you to lose more than your spouse.

Divorce Doesn’t End Everything


Despite how you may feel about this change, never forget that a divorce doesn’t mean the end of the world. As much as you may feel like this is the end of all things good, it’s not. You haven’t lost everything, and that’s crucial to remember. You are only in the transition phase to a new life, and while it may seem scary, it won’t be so bad once you get through it.

Although some divorces are more complicated than others. For divorcees who shared children and assets, like a home, car, or boat, having to maintain contact with the other partner can get stressful very quickly. This can also make the transition phase longer and more difficult.

But this doesn’t mean that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The end of one event will only lead to the beginning of another. So to get to that new beginning, you need to let go of the past, meaning pushing away the emotional pain and focusing on your own future.

If you had children or shared assets from this marriage, you can speak to a divorce or child custody attorney to relieve some stress when it comes to determining the custody of the children and the division of the property.

10 of the Best Ways to Get Over a Divorce:

Rest assured, the quicker you embrace these habits, the faster you will move towards a new, healthy lifestyle. Your ex-spouse will be a thing of the past and your future self will thank you for moving on as quickly as you did.

1. It’s OK to grieve after a divorce

Dealing with grief and loss can be one of the most difficult feelings to overcome in life. It can also lead to isolation, self-sabotage, and depression. It can be hard for others to help the grieving overcome this process because everyone handles this emotion differently.

Some divorcees can easily overcome this issue, quickly finding distractions to help them move on. For others, not so much. But no other couple will have experienced the same relationship as you and your ex, so each situation is completely unique.


Even if you are one who finds it particularly difficult to overcome grief, it’s still healthy to allow yourself to experience it. Why? Because ignoring it will only make the feeling stronger, making it worse in the long run. So the best way to handle these emotions is to let yourself feel it now to get it out of system rather than letting them build up over time.

2. Delete everything of your ex off your phone

According to Time magazine, the average American checks their phone about 50 times a day. And many phones are filled with pictures, texts, and even videos of their significant others. As you can imagine, these are the last things you need bringing you down. The best thing to do during a divorce is to delete everything of and from them from your phone.

The only exception to this rule is keeping their information when it concerns your children. Other than that, seeing their name everywhere in your phone will only cause more pain.

As with all emails, never search your inbox and read them over and over. One of the most common mistakes is overanalyzing what they meant, either taking it as a hint to get back together or something worse.

The same goes with ridding yourself of everything else given to you by your ex. Especially items with significant value – they will vary by person and you will know which items – the sooner you get rid of it, the better.

3. Stay positive

Allowing “what if” and “If only” thoughts to consume your mind will only make things worse. The process of divorce often plays mind games, but never let yourself believe any of these negative thoughts. Common examples include, “I’ll never find someone to love me again,” and “I’m going to be alone forever.” That’s never true because life is full of surprises!

The healing process is not always easy but it’s crucial to stay positive. If you believe good things will happen to you, they will. In ten or fifteen years from now, you may look back at yourself now and feel good about doing what was best for you.

One good way to think about it is to think back to a previous breakup and how you were able to get over it then. What did you do to get over it? The situation you are in now is similar and it’s important to remember that you will heal after this divorce. Life is full of ups and downs but the beauty of it is that life always moves on, even when you feel it won’t.

4. Time heals all emotional pain

This is one of the most important concepts to keep in mind: time heals all. Surely this isn’t the only time you’ve felt grief. If you think about the other difficult times in your life – such as being without a job and unable to pay bills, a previous breakup, or missing out on an opportunity – and how you got through it, it can ease some stress.

Surely this situation will be different than all the others, but if you compare the emotion of heartbreak, grief, or stress you felt then, it can make things feel a little more bearable now. You won’t just be hoping for things to get better, but will have past experiences to prove that it’s true.

There are actually studies that prove that people are stronger when they are in a suffering stage. It may not come right away, but someday, you will wake up and be in a much better mood than the previous few days. You just need to have the patience and know that your day is coming.

5. Don’t regret the marriageGetting-Through-Divorce-with-Kids-BKTuckerLaw

Many divorcees will view their marriage as a “waste of time” or a “failed relationship.” Thoughts like these can be easy to focus on, and they will come naturally. But they are not true.

Did you know that if you keep dwelling on these negative thoughts, it will affect your willingness to take risks when you are ready for a new relationship? Just because your marriage didn’t last, it doesn’t mean that you wasted all that time and investment.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you learn something?
  • Do you have any happy or positive memories from that relationship?
  • Did you have any kids with that person?

If the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” then surely the marriage wasn’t a waste of time.

6. Learn from the past

Going back to learning experiences, personal growth is one of the most valuable assets you can get out of a relationship. Think about what you learned about yourself, from the other person, and other people throughout your marriage. If you also think about who you were before entering that relationship, you may be surprised at the difference in what you know now versus then.

  • Have you changed yourself for the better?
  • Have you made any mistakes that turned into learning experiences?
  • Are there new opportunities for you now that you didn’t have before?
  • Did you learn about others that can help in a future relationship?

Everyone can learn from their experiences, taking and applying this knowledge into a future relationship that can be successful in the long run.

7. Focus on yourselfRediscover-Yourself-After-Divorce

After long-lasting marriages, it may feel as if you forgot who you were as an individual. This can be a shocking experience after being married for so many years. It can also feel scary to be alone after spending so much time with the same person. But thinking about how much time you spent with them and being alone now is natural.

But when you find yourself feeling like this, whether you’re alone at home, at work, or out with friends, remember that your past relationship doesn’t define you as a person. Your relationship never made up who you are, including your routine, your habits, likes and dislikes, etc. Getting into a new routine can be hard, yes, but you can do it without your ex.

To help get into this new routine, it’s okay to be a little selfish: focus on you.

  • Do what you want to do
  • Stay out late
  • Adopt a pet to have a companion
  • Take a vacation. Get a hobby

You don’t have to ask permission from anyone.

Remember that you need to go easy on yourself to ease into the life of being single again. Go out and discover new things. The world can be scary to dive in alone, but you can use it as your motivation to rediscover yourself as a person and get excited about your future.

8. Appreciate what you do have and what you learned

When you’re still heartbroken and/or stressed out about the divorce, it’s natural to only focus on what you have lost. But by doing this, you are only punishing yourself. The pain alone from a divorce is enough to deal with, so you never want to add to it by thinking about the physical things you lost.

So you may not have gotten the TV or the brand new car, but take a moment to think of everything you do have. These things don’t even have to be tangible; they can be things you achieved. To help with the process, write down a list of 10 things you really are proud of and maybe just not giving yourself enough credit. Even if you can’t, ask someone who knows you well to name a few for you. At times like this, family and friends can see more about you than you can yourself.

9. Remember the reason for your divorcedivorce-lawyers-Oak-Lawn-IL

It is common for couples to feel the need to get back together after a breakup. You may even feel it while you’re are grieving and it can be a struggle to not act on the urge to contact them. This feeling can feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Like you are afraid of facing the world alone, devastated, or incapable of moving on.

So when you find yourself in this situation, think back about why it is that you divorced. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Were you unhappy while you were with that person?
  • Were they abusive?
  • Did they constantly do things that hurt you?
  • Did they never listen to you?

If you were the one that proposed divorce, think back about how you felt about the marriage and why you decided to leave. Thinking back to unhappy memories can be stressful and difficult, but it is also the best way to prevent those feelings from happening again.

But even after thinking about it, and you still want to get back together, ask yourself why. If the reasons that come to mind don’t sound rational, be honest with yourself and keep pushing yourself to focus on your new life without your ex.

10. Don’t lose hope in others

If your ex was abusive, made you unhappy, or betrayed your trust, the feeling can be devastating. You feel like you never want to love or trust anyone again after what just happened. Some divorcees may even feel like the entire world is set on making them miserable. So it’s understandable that after your heartache, you will do anything you can to prevent this feeling from happening again.

Emotions such as these are normal and it’s ok to distance yourself from others for a while. But thinking negatively about everyone else from a bad experience with one person is not the best way to go. Never let the pain caused by another person to impact potential relationships you may have with other people.

At times like these, spend more time with your friends. They can help you to restore faith in humanity and open yourself up to new relationships from which you can also benefit. So instead of going straight home after work, text a friend and take advantage of happy hour at your favorite restaurant. Creating new memories can ease the stress and help you move forward towards your new life.

Additional Help for Getting Through a Divorce

Going through a divorce can be one of life’s highest hurtles. But remember that you are not alone. There are others who are dealing with the same stress and grief at this very moment. Know that you also have friends and family that can help you overcome these emotions. Studies have also shown that individuals who spend more time with others are able to come out of a divorce faster than those who don’t.

But getting through the emotional stress of a divorce is just one part. There are also financial difficulties, property division, and in many cases, children involved.  Due to the fact these situations must be sorted out, maintaining contact with your ex can be difficult, especially when they seem unreasonable.

Work with a Divorce Attorney

On the other hand, working with a divorce attorney can help sort out these complications. The experienced lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. have over 50 years of combined experience when it comes to divorce and child custody.Berry-K-Tucker-&-Associates-Ltd-Oak-Lawn-IL

They will provide you with their undivided attention, handling your case with professionalism and assertion to help you obtain what you deserve. They have also worked with many diverse cases and won with their knowledge, resources, determination to establish the best solution for their clients.

To schedule a consultation with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. give us a call at (708) 425-9530.

Every Case is Unique

Fill out the form below to submit your case for a free consultation.

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Oak Lawn, IL 60453



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