Motions for Contempt & Enforcement in Florida Family Court
When the judge in your family court case has ruled on a given issue, these rulings will be memorialized in a written order and officially entered. Once the court’s order is entered, it becomes legally binding on the parties before the court. If either party fails to obey the terms included in the order, the other party can seek to have the order enforced in court, and can even obtain severe sanctions against the noncompliant party. Read on to learn more about seeking contempt and enforcement of family court orders.
Courts can issue orders on all manner of subjects in a family law case, such as the frequency with which divorced parents will exchange custody of their children, or the amount of child support to be paid each month. When a party has disobeyed an order, such as by refusing to turn over custody of a child according to the schedule in the order, or failing to make regular child support payments, the wronged party can file a motion for contempt and enforcement. Such motions will present the court with an argument as to how the noncompliant spouse has violated the order.
The court will then hold a hearing where the court will analyze whether the order issued clear instructions to both parties, and whether the noncompliant party was capable of complying. For example, if the visitation schedule in the court’s order was vague, or if the parent who owed support lost their job, then the court may rule against finding the noncompliant party in contempt. However, if the court finds that there was a clear order and that the noncompliant party was able but unwilling to comply, then the court will find them in contempt and will determine how contempt can be “purged,” as well as what sanction the noncompliant party may face for failing to comply. For example, if the court rules that the supporting parent is able but unwilling to pay child support, the court may order that that parent be held in jail until they become current on child support payments. Courts may also award fines and attorneys’ fees against a parent or ex-spouse who has given their ex no choice but to return to court to enforce an order. An experienced Florida family court attorney can assist you in seeking the support or compliance you’re owed pursuant to a court order.
If you are in need of compassionate, trustworthy assistance with a Florida family court matter, such as a divorce or enforcement of a family court order, contact the Pensacola family law attorney Crystal Collins Spencer for a consultation, at 850-912-8080, with additional offices in Sandestin at 850-424-6683 and Ft. Walton Beach at 850-200-4652.