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Contempt Actions in Georgia – What do I do if my ex-spouse fails to comply with the Final Divorce Decree?

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If your ex-spouse fails to comply with a final divorce decree, there are certain actions, such as filing a motion for contempt, which you can take to compel compliance. We recommend that you first try to obtain compliance yourself by making requests of your ex-spouse in writing before resorting to legal action. Remember to be cordial in the letters - you are usually more likely to get a favorable response from being nice and the letters may be used in Court later. Also, be sure to keep an accurate record of what you receive or have paid and all receipts, as this will be important in Court.

In the event that your attempts to obtain voluntary compliance with the final divorce decree fail, you can file a Petition for Contempt with the Court. Both parties will then have to appear in Court and your ex-spouse will have to explain why he/she has not complied with the Order. If the Court finds that his/her non-compliance is willful (i.e. he/she has the money to pay, but just doesn't want to), your ex-spouse may be subject to sanctions for contempt which could include incarceration.

While you should not be eager to return to Court, the Court will not look favorably upon an unreasonable delay to enforce your rights. Thus, if your ex-spouse shows a pattern of non-compliance,we recommend addressing the issue as soon as possible, whether with written requests to your ex-spouse or a Petition for Contempt, if the written requests fail.


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