When an order is issued in a divorce action, child custody action, child support action, or any other domestic or family law case, one or both parties are typically subject to ongoing obligations to the other party as a part of the Court’s order. For example, one parent may be required to pay monthly child support to the other parent, turn over certain items of property, refinance the marital residence, obtain life insurance, pay alimony to the former spouse, satisfy credit card debt, or make the parties’ minor child available for visitation with the other parent. Unfortunately, the failure of one or both parties to fully comply with all the terms of the Court’s orders is a frequent issue that arises both during the litigation and years after the case has been finalized.
When that occurs, the aggrieved party must file a “Motion for Contempt” with the Court, which alleges willful non-compliance with the Court’s order and asks the Court to enforce the provision which the other party has violated. Fortunately, a Court has the power to compel parties to obey its orders and to punish parties for contemptuous behaviors, including the power to incarcerate the offending party to compel obedience. Other inherent powers of the Court to enforce its orders include the ability to hold a party in both civil and criminal contempt, to enter a writ of execution, or fieri facias, and to enter income deduction orders or garnish the party’s wages to ensure timely payment of past due or future support. Our attorneys are skilled in addressing contempt matters, and will strategically pursue the enforcement options and remedies which will best serve our clients and help make them whole again or defend such an action.