Enforcement of Current Orders

What is an enforcement? How do I enforce an order?

An enforcement is how you make the other side do what they're supposed to do. The court will "force" the person to follow the court order, or they pay the consequences.


In order to enforce an order, you first need an order. This can be a temporary order, a child support order, a visitation order, or even a final decree of divorce. Until you have an actual order from the Court, there is nothing to enforce.

Enforcement of child support

When a parent is ordered to pay child support, the order contains very specific language stating exactly: 


  1. Who is supposed to pay child support;
  2. How much child support they must pay;
  3. When the payment is due;
  4. Who they are supposed to pay the money to; and 
  5. Where they are supposed to send the payment.

If they fail to pay as specified in the order, the other parent may file an enforcement for child support.

Enforcement of possession and access

Just as the order specifies exactly how child support is to be paid, it also specifies exactly when each parent may see their children, including: 


  1. The date and time visitation is to begin;
  2. The location where the children are to be picked up at the beginning of that visitation;
  3. The date and time visitation is to end; and
  4. The location where the children are to be dropped off at the end of that visitation.

If any of the conditions above are not followed, the parent that is denied visitation may file an enforcement for possession and access. 


A violation of the child support order is very clear -- if the child support is not paid, a violation has occurred. A violation of the visitation order is more complicated. For example, if the custodial parent moves and refuses to provide their new address to the non-custodial parent, this would be a violation of the visitation order if the non-custodial parent cannot exercise their visitation because they do not know where to pick up the children. 

Consequences of violating a court order

If either party violates the court order, the Court can find them to be in contempt of court. The punishment for this can be a fine, probation, or even jail time. The exact punishments the violator may face are outlined in their original order, and the Court has discretion in determining punishments.


However, the Court does not have discretion in all matters. One example is attorney fees. If you are found to be in contempt of court, you will be ordered to pay the attorney fees, court costs, and expenses of the other party. The general idea is that the innocent party should not be out any money because the guilty party decided they did not want to follow the court order.

Costs

Enforcements may be prosecuted on a flat fee basis. The exact fee will depend on whether this is a child support or visitation enforcement, as well as the amount and type of evidence available to prosecute the case. For example, if witnesses or documents will need to be subpoenaed, the fee will be increased to cover the added expense. At your first appointment, we will discuss the specifics of your case, including the type of evidence necessary to prove your case and the likelihood of success.


Enforcements are never defended on a flat fee basis. All enforcement defense are done on an hourly plus expenses basis. This means you will be billed an hourly rate for all work done on your case, plus for all expenses. As with the enforcement prosecution, at your first appointment, we will discuss the specifics of your case, including possible defenses and whether it would be to your advantage to take the case in front of the judge or settle with the other party.