Fort Mill and Rock Hill Divorce Lawyer Handling Order Enforcements
Upholding court orders and obligations in York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties
One of the biggest complaints after any family court order has been issued is that one or both of the parties isn’t complying with the terms of the order. It can be particularly frustrating when the refusal to follow the rules results in financial hardship. The Family Court resolves many points of contention between parties by issuing orders designating how to handle disagreements or problems. The purpose is to give the court power to enforce compliance with the rules both parties are expected to follow by exacting an appropriate punishment when they don’t.
Here at Holland Law, my background and experience in divorce and family law has led me to successfully represent many clients in the Upper Midlands communities that I proudly serve. Whether you are pursuing enforcement of a court order or you are facing being held in contempt, I provide legal representation aimed at protecting your rights under the law. Call me in Fort Mill or Rock Hill to reserve your consultation.
Common orders needing enforcement
Any order issued by the Family Court remains under the jurisdiction of that court, and can be the subject of an enforcement action if violated. The most frequent violations are for orders related to child support, alimony, child custody, and equitable distribution issues set out in temporary or final orders.
Alimony and child support
You depend on alimony and child support to meet monthly expenses needed for yourself and your children. You need qualified legal advice to determine the best plan of action for enforcing the order and bringing the payments current if:
- Your alimony or child support payments are frequently late
- The amount is less than ordered
- An arrearage has accumulated because the payments have stopped
Child custody and visitation
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say (either in my office or not) that if their spouses don’t start paying child support, they’re not going to let those spouses see their kids. Or that their spouse is denying them visitation, to they’re not going to pay child support
These are blatant violations of court orders, and you can – and will – be held in contempt if you attempt to deny access to your children because of late or missing child support payments, or refuse to pay because visitation is being withheld. Child support and child custody and visitation are two separate issues, and you risk serious consequences if you conflate the two.
Temporary and final orders
When people are in pain, they often lash out – and a divorce can provide ample opportunities to hurt the person who hurt you. Dragging your feet, however, will not help your cause, and violating a court order (of any kind) related to your divorce is likely to harm you more than your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
Failure to comply with a court order can result in contempt
When a party willfully, or even unintentionally, fails to comply with a previously issued court order, he or she is considered to be in contempt of court. The usual way to address this problem is by filing a contempt action known as a “rule to show cause.” Often, the mere threat of filing a rule to show cause can garner cooperation from the other party; however, that’s not always the case.
Filing a contempt action will result in a hearing where the non-compliant party will be required to appear before the court to explain why he or she failed to follow the ruling. If you can’t show a valid reason, the judge will find you in Contempt of Court and could fine or jail you.
I violated my court order; now what?
If you are the party being held in contempt for violating a court order, you may be in a vulnerable legal position. Not only will you risk being fined and possibly sentenced to time in jail, but you could weaken your argument if you are the one seeking an order modification. You also place yourself in jeopardy of losing custody your child, the other parent receiving more visitation time, or losing an alimony or child support increase. Contact me if you are facing contempt, so we can work out a plan together.
Methods to help enforce court orders
When timely or full payment is an issue, you have two enforceable options at your disposal:
- Requiring payment through the court, including payment of the mandatory service fee
- Wage withholding through an employer
In both cases, the court acts as a third party who makes payment to the ex-spouse/parent receiving payment.
Preventing conflict to avoid being held in contempt
Sun Tzu said “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” Divorce is no different. While it may feel satisfying at first to dig in your heels, in the end, everyone loses. Former couples can benefit from intervention by someone emotionally disengaged from your relationship. Having this buffer can stave off emotional altercations that can end in courtroom battles. You can:
- Use a parenting coordinator to resolve custody and visitation issues
- Use a neutral third party for visitation exchanges to minimize contact with the other parent
- Work with a certified mediator to help create a new order which works for both of you
There are also numerous apps that have been created for dealing with family court issues. You can do everything from finding a neutral midway meeting point for visitations, to communicating with one another in a manner that creates accountability for both parties.
- Meetways gives you the ability to plug in both parties’ addresses to find public locations midway between you for visitation exchanges.
- TheGoLog is a child custody and support tracking app that helps parents track child support payments, child-related expenses, and custody in the event you need evidence in the future.
- OurFamilyWizard can help you navigate the waters of co-parenting.
Whatever your specific issue, there’s likely an app or website that can assist you in minimizing conflict and court time, while ensuring that no one spends any time in jail for contempt.
Knowledgeable legal representation in Rock Hill and Fort Mill
Going back to court to deal with issues that you thought were already resolved is frustrating; choosing the right attorney for your needs shouldn’t be. If you are experiencing difficulties with enforcement of a court order, you need help from an attorney who understands the York, Lancaster, and Chester County legal systems. To schedule your consultation with me in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, call 803-288-3885 or reach out to me through my contact page.