Failure to Comply: Enforcing a Divorce Decree or Paternity Order
Finalizing a divorce or resolving paternity issues are major steps toward starting a new life. However, the frustration may seem endless when your former spouse or child’s biological parent is non-compliant with court orders. If facing this challenging situation, you need experienced legal representation from a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney.
At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping clients deal with an uncooperative former spouse or biological parent of a child who fails to abide by court orders. Under Florida law, a divorce decree and paternity orders are legally executed documents signed by a judge and are enforceable through the courts. Our law firm represents those seeking enforcement of court orders and clients defending against such actions. Our legal team has the experience, compassion, and understanding to assist with enforcement and all family law matters.
Examples of Violations are:
- Failing to pay child support
- Failing to surrender property or assets following a marital property division
- Violating a restraining order
- Failing to pay spousal support
- Refusing to follow child custody terms
- Refusing to follow the visitation schedule
- Failure to pay debt obligations
Filing a Civil Action for Contempt/Enforcement
A petitioner can file a motion for enforcement or contempt of court to force compliance within the terms of a court order. When a party willfully disregards orders set forth by the court, a judge can enforce the orders by levying fines, assessing attorneys’ fees to be paid by the offending party, garnishing income, and jail time in the case of serious disregard of the judgment.
Failure to pay, as required by the court, can lead to various statutory remedies, such as the seizure of bank accounts, professional licenses, automobiles or other property, and the suspension of driver’s licenses. For failure to receive visitation time with your child as stipulated in your divorce decree or paternity order, a judge can award you extra time or modify the order permanently.
Detailed Evidence is Required for a Court Proceeding
The burden of proof in an enforcement/contempt hearing is on the aggrieved party. The petitioner will need to bring forth evidence of the existing court order and proof that the other party has failed to comply. Examples of proof of non-compliance can include texts, voice mails, social media posts, witnesses, and financial records.
It is necessary for a petitioner to thoroughly document how a former spouse or biological parent violates court orders. Keep records of the times that child support or spousal payments are late. Clearly document how much a former spouse or biological parent is in arrears. Record each instance when child custody, visitation, or other conditions of a parenting plan were violated as ordered by the judge.
Justifying the Need for a Modification
Violating a court order is a serious matter. However, a contempt charge is inappropriate when the offender’s acts are beyond their control. Before facing contempt of court, it is preferable to amend court orders with a modification. A substantial change in circumstances is grounds to request a modification of a divorce decree or paternity order. Examples are changes in a person’s financial situation, such as a job loss or retirement. Other justifiable circumstances are parental relocation, serious illness, criminal convictions, or child abuse, neglect, or abandonment allegations.
Central Florida Enforcement Attorney
At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, let us review your situation and recommend the most efficient and cost-efficient steps to move forward. Attorney Kathleen Davies has more than thirty-five years of legal experience. She earned a master’s degree from Harvard University, focusing on leadership and negotiation skills. She knows how to take legal action and get results by balancing creative dispute resolution techniques with aggressive representation. At The Davies Law Firm, LLC, we collaborate with our clients, achieving their goals by building a solid case for or against enforcement and contempt of court.
Call The Davies Law Firm, LLC at 855-688-4713 to schedule a Free Consultation. We will review your situation and develop an action plan to reach the most favorable outcome. Our office is located in Cocoa, Florida, and we serve clients in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. Let our experience work for you.