If you are divorced, your divorce was finalized by a judge entering a divorce decree. If you and your former spouse did not reach an agreement on the terms of your contested divorce, then the judge decided who got what on the matters you could not agree on in your decree of divorce. If you and your ex-spouse did agree on the terms of your divorce, the judge made your agreement enforceable by ordering you to comply with the terms in your divorce decree. Either way, you are bound to follow the terms of the divorce decree ordered by the judge in your case. After the decree has been entered, if you do not feel that your former spouse is keeping up their obligations as laid out in the decree, you can file a Contempt Petition with the Court.
In Alabama, to find your ex-spouse in Contempt of Court you can file a Rule Nisi or Contempt Petition against your former spouse to compel them to comply with the obligations. Some common reasons to file a Rule Nisi or Contempt petition are failure to pay child support, prohibiting communications with a parent and their child, failure to pay medical expenses for a child, not paying court-ordered insurance, failure to comply with visitation conditions, withholding of awarded moneys and/or property, and any other obligations imposed by the court. There is a filing fee for this petition and it can vary by county. A Rule Nisi Petition is filed in the county where the divorce decree was entered in most cases.
It is best to hire an Alabama Contempt Petition attorney to file this case for you, since they can present your side of the story to the court in a way that sheds the best light on the situation and brings relevant facts and law to light. To do something like this, our local contempt petition lawyer will require something called a retainer. Most family law attorneys work on an hourly rate and bill out of this retainer for the work performed. For example, if the attorney works at a rate of $300 per hour then they might require an initial retainer equal to the number of hours of work will be required in your case times this amount. They then keep up with the hours they work and bill accordingly.
Our family law attorney will have to quote you an initial retainer based on your particular situation. If you call today we can give you a free phone consultation for the divorce attorney to quote you a retainer over the phone. If you cannot afford to pay a retainer, there may be some situations where other options are available. For instance, if your former spouse is not paying child support you can contact your local DHR office and they can sometimes help.
Filing a Rule Nisi or Contempt Petition in Alabama
Once you file the petition, the court eventually schedules a hearing. The defending party (your ex) has to testify under oath to the court why they are not following the terms of the agreement or otherwise prove that they are in compliance. If the court finds that they are not abiding by the terms of the divorce decree, the Judge can order them come into compliance within a certain period of time. If the party refuses to comply, the judge can have them put in jail or fine them substantial amounts until they follow the judge’s orders.
If you need to file a Contempt Petition in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston, Huntsville, Decatur, Prattville, Alabaster, Talladega, Jasper, Gadsden, or anywhere else in Central or Northern Alabama and you have a former spouse that is not abiding by the rules set out in your divorce decree, you have options. The most common way to address this, if discussing it with them will not work, is filing a Petition for Rule Nisi with the court.
The hearing will determine if they are not in compliance with your divorce decree, and if not, the judge can attempt to make sure it is carried out. Our attorneys usually do this on a retainer basis. Since this kind of motion involves a hearing and a non-compliant ex-spouse, the fees can fairly expensive. Amounts can vary, but most cases will require at least $3000 or more up front. Our contempt lawyer can sometimes work with you on the fees and we do take partial payments up front sometimes. If you call our family law attorney today, we might be able to work something out.