DC and Maryland Contempt and Enforcement Attorneys

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Contempt and Enforcement

After a divorce settlement has been reached and a decree finalized, there may be ongoing obligations that each party must complete. This could be child support orders, alimony payments, requirements for visitation, or other court-related orders. When a former spouse does not follow through on their responsibilities, the other spouse can notify the court about the violation and petition for a contempt motion. If you or your ex-spouse are not following through on court-ordered obligations like support or custody arrangements, working with an experienced DC and Maryland divorce attorney to help enforce your divorce agreement may help. By simplifying your post-divorce enforcement issue, you may be able to reach a positive outcome with your ex-spouse in the long-term. In situations where your former partner refuses to adhere to court orders, The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl has years of experience pursuing these individuals and finding a resolution to stop this behavior.

What are Examples of Contempt of Court in Family Law?

When one or more parties purposely defy a court order, this is known as contempt of court. Numerous actions often require courts to step in and enforce existing orders regarding areas of divorce, custody, and support. Below are just a few of many examples of how a parent’s noncompliance would constitute contempt of court in DC and  Maryland.  
  • Refuses to return your child at the end of their parenting time
  • Purposely interfering with your parenting schedule
  • Fails to pay their ordered alimony or child support
  • Prevents the other parent from having the child during their scheduled visitation period
  • Will not turn over property ordered to be returned by the court

How Divorce Decrees Get Enforced in DC and Maryland

Just like child support and visitation, a divorce decree is a type of court order that is enforceable under the law. Your agreement outlines you and your ex-spouse’s rights and responsibilities after your divorce. When your former partner decides not to follow through on their obligations, you have a legal option to make them cooperate. First, you could file a breach of contract action, or file a contempt motion in your local court. Holding your former spouse in contempt means they purposely violated court-ordered duties, and you want the judge presiding over your case to remedy the issue. Remember, these violations need to be willful and proven as such.

What are the Consequences of Contempt of Court?

The law provides for two approaches to contempt charges: civil and criminal. In civil proceedings, the court will try to coerce the non-complying parent to abide by a court order’s provisions. This charge does not use sanctions or other forms of punishment. Criminal contempt charges will involve sentencing for noncompliance.

Individuals that face contempt charges because they willfully violated a court-ordered divorce decree can experience a broad range of consequences. One such punishment could be fines, where the payment of which gets awarded to the injured spouse. This frequently occurs in cases where one parent interferes with the other’s visitation with their child. Additionally, the family court judge could also tack on the petitioning spouse’s attorney fees.

In matters where an ex-spouse fails to pay outstanding funds, they could find their wages garnished to recoup the money owed. For instances of child support default, a court could also sentence the defending spouse to jail time and possibly stay locked away until they have paid up their arrearage. There are also occasions where a judge will suspend the driver’s license, or other professional licensing of a parent found guilty of contempt.

Whether you have failed to meet your court-ordered responsibilities, or your ex-spouse has, it is critical to speak with an experienced family court attorney familiar with the contempt process. The Law Office of Thomas Stahl has over 15 years of experience assisting families with enforcement and contempt issues related to divorce and custody orders. Schedule a consultation right away if any of the above circumstances apply to your legal situation.

Is a Signed Agreement without a Court Order Enforceable?

While you will not be able to file contempt charges against your ex-spouse for not adhering to your signed agreement without a court order, you do have other options available involving court enforcement. This area of law is highly complicated and cannot be answered in a few sentences. To find out what strategies we can use to bring your non-complying ex-spouse into compliance, you should schedule a consultation with our family law attorneys at The Law Office of Thomas Stahl as soon as possible. We may be able to find a resolution to your issue without requiring a drawn-out legal battle with your former partner.

Do Not Allow an Ex-Spouse to Ignore the Terms of Your Court-Ordered Agreement

If your ex-spouse refuses to follow through on the terms of your agreed-upon parenting agreement or your visitation is being purposely interfered with, it is vital to speak with a highly skilled family law litigator. The Law Office of Thomas Stahl has helped families resolve enforcement issues related to their divorces, support orders, and other family-related legal matters. Contact our team of knowledgeable attorneys today at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or book a consultation online so that you can get answers to your questions regarding enforcement and contempt actions.

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