If another party you're involved in a court order with refuses to uphold their end of the order, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of pursuing order enforcement. Knowing what to expect when you pursue enforcement for a child custody, support, or alimony order can help you receive the best outcome in your case.
To schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about our order enforcement services, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.
Order Enforcement for Custody Cases
It's important to note that the following advice is given under the assumption that attempts to negotiate a solution with your co-parent have been ineffective, and you believe relying on legal enforcement to be the only realistic path forward in your case.
Firstly, you should know that - if you believe your child is in immediate danger due to the actions of your co-parent - you can report your case to the police of attorney's office. However, this should be a last resort saved for situations where you have reason to believe your child is suffering from abuse or neglect at the hands of your co-parent, or your co-parent is engaging in another dangerous activity, such as trying to kidnap your child.
If you do not believe your child is in immediate danger, you'll want to file an order enforcement case with your county court. This will put your case in front of a judge, who can decide what penalties should be imposed on the co-parent.
Before filing, you should keep track of evidence that supports your assertion that the custody order should be modified. This can be proof that your co-parent consistently misses visitation exchanges, is failing to care properly for your child, is acting disingenuously toward you, is abusing substances in front of the children, is placing your children around individuals who are a bad influence on them, or other evidence appropriate to the case. Working with a family lawyer can help you assemble evidence and devise an effective case strategy that will help you obtain order enforcement from the judge.
You and your co-parent may be requested to attend a court hearing to determine whether the custody order should be modified. If the judge rules in your favor, they may modify the order to give you greater legal and physical custody, award you make-up time with your children for any time you missed, and order your co-parent to pay your legal fees.
In certain situations, the judge may hold your co-parent in contempt of court, resulting in jail time or fines. However, in most cases, courts prefer to find more amicable paths forward in custody disputes.
Order Enforcement for Child & Spousal Support
Like custody order enforcement, you can file an order enforcement case with the court if your ex-spouse or co-parent refuses to supply you with spousal or child support that you have a court order for.
However, the consequences for spousal or child support delinquency often differ from those for custody enforcement disputes.
Like custody enforcement orders, the court can hold the other party in contempt of court. It may also take other actions, such as ordering them to pay any withheld child or spousal support, placing liens on bank accounts to ensure the payment of support, suspending the offending party's driver's license, or taking whatever other actions the court considers necessary to ensure the payment of support.
What Else Should I Know?
In any case involving a child, the court will always place the child's best interests at the forefront of the discussion. As a result, parents involved in child support or custody enforcement cases should expect scrutiny concerning their parenting practices, the environment they provide for their child, their age and health (mental and physical), and more.
Additionally, the court can choose to modify an order in favor of a party if they experience a substantial change in circumstances - for example, losing their job or suffering from a medical accident.
Having an experienced family lawyer by your side while you resolve your enforcement dispute is recommended if you want to obtain the best outcome for your short and long-term future.
To schedule a consultation with our team for your child custody dispute, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.