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Enforcement of distribution agreements with a noncompliant spouse

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2020 | Divorce |

You and your spouse have resolved most matters related to your divorce. You have orders detailing the distribution of property, and you have overcome a lot of other issues, too. Going through divorce may have been a long process, but you finally feel it is nearing its end.

However, you eventually realize that your spouse is failing to pay in accordance with the order of equitable distribution. In such circumstances, Pennsylvania law provides powers that the court may use to compel a party to comply with the orders.

Even if you and your spouse created the distribution plan between yourselves rather than the court creating it, enforcement rules may still apply. The court may still intervene, and the penalties may be steep enough to encourage your spouse not to risk going any further down that road.

Order awarding interest or attorneys’ fees

Adding new costs to the original amount your spouse owes is one way a court may incentivize timely payments. The judge may order your spouse to pay interest on unpaid sums. The judge may also order your spouse to pay your attorneys’ fees. These penalties can result in significant extra costs for your spouse, over and above the original value of the property division.

Order seizing income or assets

Another remedy the court may choose is to seize income or assets to satisfy the outstanding balance. This may include your spouse’s goods, wages, rental income from real property or other types of income and property.

Order mandating court appearance or jail time

Depending on the circumstances of your spouse’s noncompliance, the court may find it necessary to compel his or her appearance in court. When necessary, the court may enlist the services of the sheriff to enforce the appearance.

After hearing the evidence, the court will determine whether your spouse is willfully noncompliant. While the judge may have many options to choose from in such an event, one heavy penalty the law allows is to issue jail time of up to six months.