Enforcement of Decrees and Orders
When a court enters a decree or an order, the parties are bound to abide by its terms or they may be subject to sanctions, fines, and other civil penalties. Failure to obey a civil court order may constitute contempt of court.
In domestic law, some of the more common orders that are not followed by one party include (1) refusing to obey a custody or visitation schedule, (2) failing to pay child support or alimony, (3) ignoring payment of a debt or distributing property, or (4) a parent’s non-reimbursement for his or her portion of a child’s medical, dental, or day care expenses. There may be other court orders that require compliance by one or both parties.
There are numerous remedies available depending on the type of order being disregarded. Before claiming contempt of court against another party, one must also be cautious that he or she is not also failing to abide by an order of the court. In some instances, it may be prudent or required to explore alternative methods of resolution before filing an enforcement action in court.
If litigation is necessary or desirable, carefully planned testimony and evidence are crucial to ensuring a successful request for relief. If you find yourself in the position of having to defend against a claim of contempt, having an experienced attorney on your side may be the difference between a dismissed action or serving jail time and being penalized with a substantial money judgment.
Having handled numerous enforcement actions, the experienced family law attorneys at Dexter & Dexter are qualified and able to represent you in an enforcement/contempt action.