Jacksonville Family Law Attorneys for Enforcement & Contempt
Lawyers Discuss Enforcement and Contempt in Florida
During a divorce or separation, the two parties involved will have to come to an agreement regarding child custody, alimony and other important details. In some cases, the court will review the agreement and provide consent. In other situations, the agreement will come directly from a judicial officer after a hearing. In either case, each person is bound by the order once it is made and they are required to follow it. Those who violate the terms of the court order can face serious consequences.
Whether you are owed child support, alimony, court costs or attorney’s fees, if the other party is refusing to comply with the court’s order to pay you, the experienced Florida family law attorneys at Farah & Farah can take further legal action to seek compliance. We have the experience, knowledge and commitment it takes to make things right and ensure compliance with court orders and legal judgments. If you have any questions about the enforcement of court orders in your case, please contact us at (904) 263-4610 to find out how we can assist you.
What is Contempt in Florida?
After a judge makes a legal decision, all parties involved will be bound by that ruling. When one of the parties involved disregards the court’s orders, Florida law provides the judge with the power to enforce the ruling. Two of these methods are known as contempt and enforcement.
Contempt is a legal term that involves a refusal to obey a legal order entered by a judge. There are two types of contempt in Florida: civil and criminal.
- A motion for civil contempt is used to coerce or convince a party to obey a judicial order. For example, individuals who refuse to pay child support can face incarceration until they decide to pay the ordered child support. Individuals can file a motion for civil contempt if they have a valid child support order that has been approved by a judge, if the other parent has not paid child support and if the other parent has the ability to pay. A judge will review the contempt request and decide if action is required.
- When someone violates a court order, he or she may be held in criminal contempt. Direct criminal contempt is when an act of contempt occurs in the court. Indirect contempt is committed outside the court’s presence.
For a court to find a non-compliant party in contempt, there must be a specific court order or judgment requiring certain conduct on the part of the party that is allegedly non-compliant. There must be evidence to establish that the party in question has failed or refused to comply with the conditions of the court order. The non-compliant party will then have an opportunity to justify the non-compliance. The court will examine the evidence and then determine if the party had the ability to comply but failed to do so. If that is the determination, then, the party will be held in contempt. The court will then proceed with determining the appropriate penalties, which could be rather severe and significant.
What is Enforcement?
Once a judge enters a legal ruling, it is the responsibility of the parties involved to comply. When a party refuses to pay child support or alimony, he or she may face charges and enforcement from the court. Florida law allows judges who enter an order to have continued jurisdiction over the case. Therefore, when someone does not follow the order, the judge who made the ruling has the power to enforce it.
Florida judges have many ways to ensure that people pay their child support and alimony. When necessary, Florida judges have the power to garnish wages, place liens on properties and even suspend professional and driver’s licenses. Judges also have the ability to intercept lottery winnings, freeze home equity lines, intercept workers’ compensation funds and incarcerate delinquent parents for overdue child support.
They could even contact financial institutions to ensure that someone has the funds necessary to make payments and freeze accounts if the individual is significantly behind. In other words, the court has the power to back up its ruling and it will do what it takes to make sure that child support or alimony is paid and that individuals in contempt are punished.
Protecting Your Rights in Florida
It is crucial that you consult with an experienced Jacksonville family law attorney to not only understand your rights when it comes to enforcing a court order or judgment, but also to become informed of any defenses you may have if contempt is alleged. The skilled and knowledgeable Jacksonville family law attorneys at Farah & Farah can help you obtain the information you need to make important decisions that can have long-reaching consequences. Please contact us at (904) 263-4610 for a free and comprehensive consultation.