Enforcing Court Orders in Your Family Law Case
You’ve gone through the long and difficult process of resolving your family law case, but now the other party will not comply with the court order. Now what do you do? In family law, there are two primary mechanisms at your disposal. Determining the best method of enforcing your court orders will depend on the particular circumstances of your case. A seasoned family law attorney will be able to assist you in determining your best course of action.
The most frequently used method of enforcing a court order is filing a Motion for Contempt Citation. When you are asking the Court to find that someone is in contempt, the party requesting the enforcement has the burden of proving that: 1. there was a valid court order; 2. that the non-complying party knew about the order; 3. that the non-complying party had the ability to comply with the court order; and 4. that the non-complying party willfully violated the order. If these facts have been adequately pled, the Court will issue a contempt citation.
Both parties will need to show up in court for an advisement hearing. During the advisement, the non-complying party will be told the potential sanctions he or she could face if the court determines that he or she is in contempt of court. These sanctions can include fines and jail time. If pled correctly, the court can also award attorney’s fees against the non-complying party. If the person who is in violation of the court’s order pleads “not guilty,” the court will hold an evidentiary hearing and will determine whether sanctions are appropriate.
Motion to Enforce Parenting Time
If one party is not complying with the parenting time order, you may also file a Motion to Enforce Parenting Time under C.R.S. 14-10-129.5. This Motion offers a variety of alternative remedies, other than just punishing the non-complying party, such as offering make-up parenting time, imposing terms on parenting time, modifying the parenting time order in the best interests of the child(ren), requiring parenting or co-parenting classes, or family counseling. The Court can also order sanctions against the non-complying parent or find the non-complying parent in contempt of court.
There are oftentimes unforeseen consequences of filing a motion seeking to enforce a court order, such as the non-complying party reacting by attempting to modify the court order. Also, if you are not fully in compliance with all court orders, a retaliatory motion could be filed against you. Given the serious implications and potential consequences of seeking to enforce your rights under the court’s orders, it is imperative to consult with an attorney prior to filing any motions of this nature. If you are involved with a case where the other party is failing to adhere to the court’s orders, contact our attorney’s at GEM Family Law today to determine the best course of action.