Any time a judge makes a legal ruling and enacts a court order, all parties involved in the case are bound by the terms of the order. Unfortunately, not everyone abides by the court’s order as intended. When this happens, Florida law gives the judge the legal authority to enforce their original ruling. This is where the legal concepts of “contempt” and “enforcement” come in to play.

If you are involved in a family law case where the other party is choosing to willfully disregard or ignore the terms laid out for them within the court order, contact Myrthil’s Law, P.A. today so we can get started on petitioning the court to enforce your current order.

What is contempt of court?

Contempt of court is the term used to describe a party’s refusal to follow or abide by the terms of an existing court order that was entered by a ruling from a judge.

If the other party involved in your family law case is not following the existing court order, either in full or only partially, that party can be found in contempt and the judge can impose consequences to force the other party to abide by the terms in your existing court order. These sanctions can include:

  • Personal license suspension (e.g. driver’s license, fishing or hunting license, etc.)
  • Professional license suspension
  • Income deduction orders
  • Interception or seizure of assets
  • Liens
  • New hire reporting
  • Financial responsibility of attorney and court fees
  • Additional fines
  • Arrest warrant issued

In order for the other party to be found in contempt of court, you must be able to show they intentionally disobeyed or ignored the existing court order. If you are being accused of violating an existing court order, you must be able to show either you did not violate the order or the violation was not intentional. This is where having an experienced family law attorney familiar with the motion for contempt or enforcement is critical to protecting your rights and interests and helping to ensure you obtain the results you need.

Time Sharing and Parenting Plan Enforcement

If your ex is withholding your children from you during your court ordered time-sharing schedule, you have the right to pursue contempt and enforcement actions through court. Both parties are encouraged to reach an understanding and agreement to resolve such issues on their own, often through mediation. However, if the other party continues to refuse your court ordered time-sharing with your children or a resolution cannot be made, you can continue the process by requesting a hearing date to be set and have a judge make the final ruling.

A family law attorney who has experience with time sharing and parenting plan contempt and enforcement cases can help you through the process to ensure your rights are protected and the best interests of yourself and your children are met.

Child Support Enforcement

If your child’s other parent has stopped paying child support there are a few options you have available to enforce an existing child support obligation order. One way to do this is to use the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program. This program works on your behalf to locate the non-custodial parent and attempt to make them pay their past-due and existing child support obligations through enforcement actions such as intercepting tax refunds, income deductions, and license suspensions.

However, it is important to know this system is also heavily burdened with child support enforcement cases and the process may move slowly. If you are not having success through the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program, you can also take enforcement actions on your own by hiring a child support lawyer to file a motion for civil contempt.

This process requires you show the court you have a valid order requiring support, the other parent has stopping making payments as required by the order, and they have the ability to make their payments. A judge will make the determination of whether the other parent is in contempt of the child support order and make a ruling on how and by when the other parent is required to pay their overdue support—and the consequences for failing to do so, which often include fines and/or jail time.

Alimony Support Enforcement

If your former spouse was ordered to pay spousal support and has failed to pay, you have the right to have your order enforced through the court with a motion for contempt. Your former spouse must be intentionally disregarding or ignoring their obligation to make spousal support payments. If a change in circumstances has caused your former spouse to no longer be able to meet their spousal support obligation, they must be able to show the change in circumstance was beyond their control and could not be anticipated when the original agreement and court order was entered.

The court has several actions they can take to enforce the support order. When facing a contempt or enforcement action you need an aggressive family law attorney who has the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for your rights and protect your best interests throughout the contempt and enforcement process.

Experienced Tampa Family Law Attorneys

We fight to protect your rights and ensure your court order is being followed and enforced appropriately.

If you feel your ex is in contempt of your current court order and would like to take action to have your court order enforced, contact Myrthil’s Law, P.A. today. Our support enforcement lawyer has the experience needed to guide you through the contempt and enforcement process while ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

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