Enforcement of Court Orders
Once a Dissolution Agreement in a divorce case or a Custody Agreement in a custody case has been accepted by the Family Court, it is entered as a final judgment, or order, of the court. These orders direct each party to do certain things and informs them of their obligations moving forward. These orders may include the payment of child support, the payment of alimony, transfer of property, or a parenting access schedule. If one party is not fulfilling their obligations under the court orders, then the other party may ask the court to find the offending party in contempt and enforce the orders.
The first step to enforcing a court order is filing a Motion for Contempt. This Motion alerts the court to the issue and informs the court what order is being violated. Once a hearing is held, the moving party must prove three factors for the court to find the offending party in contempt. The moving party must prove that there was a clear and unambiguous court order, that the offending party was aware of the court order, and that the offending party has willfully violated that court order. The term “willfully violated” means that the offending party had the ability to comply with the order but refused to do so.
When a judge finds a party in contempt of court orders the judge can order a variety of remedies. This can include monetary sanctions, attorney’s fees, or even jail time for the offending party until they comply with the orders. Even if the judge does not find the offending party in contempt, the judge may still issue remedial orders to correct the offending party’s violation.
If you are facing difficulties with having the opposing party follow court orders it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney to get assistance enforcing the orders. Our family law attorneys at BPS have years of experience enforcing court orders and we are readily available to answer any questions you may have.