Getting through your divorce and family law matters can be emotionally trying and stressful. But when you finally reach the end and receive a judgment, you might feel a burden lifted from your shoulders. Is that really the end, though? Probably not. In fact, most divorce and family law matters can be revisited later on, and they all require a party to comply with a court’s order.
What happens if a court order is violated?
We see this all the time. The court issues a child custody and visitation order, or a child support order, but one party doesn’t adhere to the order. What can you do if this happens?
To start, you might want to see if you can resolve the matter on your own. If you can’t then you might want to file a motion for rule to show cause. What this means is that you file a motion with the court asking it to order the other party into court to demonstrate why he or she shouldn’t be held in contempt. In the motion, you’ll need to identify which order has been violated, how and when it was violated, and why the violation was willful. You’ll want to be specific and detailed.
What happens if the other party is found to be in contempt?
If the court ultimately finds that the other party should be held in contempt, then there might be one of a number of remedies orders. The court may fine the other party, force them to pay your attorney’s fees, or send them to jail. Any of these can be strong punishment, but the ultimate goal is to ensure compliance with the court’s order.
Contempt as a basis for modification
In a lot of contempt cases, the willful disregard of the court’s order can serve as a basis for modification of the existing order. This is especially true in the child custody and visitation context. If a parent can’t stick with what the court has ordered, then the children might be removed from their custody or their visitation might be modified. If you’re interested in seeking a modification, though, you’ll need to file a separate motion and have a hearing on the matter.
Hold the other side accountable
Court’s orders should be respected. When a party refuses to do so, it’s up to you to hold them accountable. So, don’t be afraid to bring up the issue with an attorney who can help you protect your and your family’s interests.