What Happens If One Party Violates A Missouri Divorce Decree?

Facing the challenges of a divorce is always tough, and post-divorce issues can bring about additional complications. One common problem in Missouri is when one party refuses to comply with the terms of a divorce decree, causing immense stress and frustration for the other party. It is crucial to be aware of your options and the potential consequences of violating a divorce decree in such situations.

Understanding A Divorce Decree

A divorce decree is a legal document that outlines the terms of a divorce. It covers important details such as property division, child custody arrangements, child support, and spousal support. Typically, both parties involved in the divorce sign the decree, and a judge approves and signs it, making it a legally binding court order. Once the divorce decree is in effect, both parties are generally obligated to adhere to its terms.

Violating A Divorce Decree

When one party fails to comply with the terms of a divorce decree, it is considered a violation. Numerous examples of such violations include failure to pay child support, refusal to surrender property or assets, or interference with visitation or custody arrangements.

In Missouri, if your ex-spouse violates a divorce decree, you have several legal remedies at your disposal. Typically, the initial step is to file a motion for contempt with the court. This serves as a clear message to your ex-spouse that their behavior is unacceptable and can have serious consequences.

If the court finds your ex-spouse in contempt, they may face a range of penalties, including fines, suspension of driver’s licenses, wage garnishment, and in extreme cases, even jail time.

Modifying A Divorce Decree

When both parties agree, it is possible to modify a divorce decree to accommodate changing circumstances, such as changes in income or new child custody arrangements. However, until the decree is officially modified, both parties are still obligated to abide by its terms.


If you find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse is violating a divorce decree in Missouri, taking prompt action is of utmost importance. Filing a motion for contempt and seeking legal remedies are essential steps to enforce the court order and protect your rights. Engaging the services of an experienced family law attorney can provide invaluable guidance throughout this complex process and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

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