A court order for your ex-spouse to only visit your children at a certain time or to pay you a certain amount of alimony after your divorce finalizes, it is not a suggestion but a legally binding contract backed the United States judicial system. The orders have to be taken seriously and they have to be followed to the letter. Any willful deviation from the contract or agreement constitutes contempt.
Someone is in contempt of a court order if they:
Know about the court order.
Should be able to comply with the court order but does not comply.
Has no valid reason for lack of compliance.
While being held in contempt is certainly a legal situation for your ex-spouse – they could face criminal charges and penalties like jail time and fines – it may be a boon for you when it comes time to enforce the court orders. For more information about the enforcement of court orders or contempt, contact Hedayati Law Group P.C. and our team of professional Long Island divorce lawyers today.
Before we look into enforcing court orders in more detail, it is important to first understand the consequences of contempt and how it could affect you. When someone is found to be in contempt of the court by willfully violating a court order, they must make it up through compensatory actions. If it is the first time your ex-spouse has ignored the court order, they may only be required to make up what they intentionally disrupted; for example: If they did not pay one alimony payment, they would probably only have to pay you what is missing.
For people who have been ignoring court orders for a considerable amount of time, or whose actions caused significant damage to your finances or family life, the court can use more efficient means. For example: If they did not pay several alimony payments and the lack of finances caused you to miss credit card payments and build interest, the court could order them to pay the missing spousal support, pay the interest on your credit cards, and pay a varying amount in punitive damages. This reason and many more act as an important reminder for you to always follow court orders as well.
The court will want to see valid reasons as to why you need your court orders enforced. Showing that your ex-spouse is in contempt of the orders through one action or another is a strong reason to need enforcement.
The steps you should take to file contempt, and therefore for enforcement, are:
Enforcing a court order is not a simple process, and you might not even know if it is the right solution for the problems you are facing. If you would like to get a better idea of what should be done, contact us and get a free consultation from our Long Island family law attorneys. We would be happy to put our 80+ years of combined legal experience to good use for you.