After a dissolution of marriage, dissolution of civil union, or allocation of parental responsibilities case has concluded, you may find that your ex is no longer following the court’s orders. When a person does not follow an order of the court, the other party can seek to enforce the court’s order by filing a contempt of court action.
In order to prevail in a contempt of court action, you must prove three things: 1) that there is a valid court order in place, 2) that the parties are aware of the court order, and 3) that the party who is not complying with the order has the ability to do so. If a party is found to be in contempt of court, that person can be subject to criminal-like sanctions such as fines or jail time. Additionally, the party can be subjected to other sanctions in order to force compliance with the court order.
Contempt actions can be filed to enforce many types of court orders, such as orders with regard to child support, maintenance/alimony, property division, maintaining insurance policies, etc. However, depending on the situation, a contempt action may or may not be the best remedy for a party who fails to comply with parenting orders as there are other remedies available specifically to enforce parenting orders. Non-compliance with parenting orders may also warrant a modification of those orders.
There are several procedural requirements that must be met to initiate a contempt action. Furthermore, the burden is on the person filing the contempt action to prove that the other party is in contempt of court. Because this burden can sometimes be difficult to overcome, there may be other alternatives available to force compliance with a court order while avoiding the contempt process. For example, to force compliance with a child support order, it may be possible to set up a garnishment of wages to ensure timely payment.
If you would like to discuss how to enforce a court order in your case, please feel free to contact our office at 970-797-3407 or through our online Contact Us form to set up an initial consultation with Ms. Monty.