Issues of child support, custody, and alimony represent important financial provisions to help families remain stable during and after divorce. When one party refuses to pay court-ordered payments, it can be frustrating and stressful to figure out what avenues you have to get child support or alimony payments started. An attorney can help you file the property paperwork, which will depend on the specifics of your situation. Being granted a divorce is a legal process, but it requires human compliance. The court can make orders, but it takes additional steps to ensure that parties respond to these orders and comply. Compliance issues are not uncommon, so if your ex-spouse refuses to follow court orders, you have legal options.
- A Motion to Enforce: Handles situations where there are compliance issues with equitable distribution, like property division and debt payments issues.
- A Motion for Contempt: Handles occurrences where a more formal reprimand is needed regarding court-ordered financial responsibilities.
- Civil Contempt: Filed by an ex-spouse to pressure non-compliant parities to adhere to court orders or the terms of a decree.
- Criminal Contempt: Used by the legal system (usually a prosecutor for the state) to penalize non-compliant parties who fail to adhere to court orders.
Whether you choose to file a motion for contempt or enforcement in Florida, certain evidence is required before the motion can be processed.
- You will need to verify the order was issued by a Florida court
- You will need to verify that the order was enforceable and valid
- You will need to verify that your ex-spouse refused or failed to accept the order
Financial noncompliance issues resulting from failure to pay can be addressed using a motion to enforce. In Florida, certain assets and debts are protected from contempt orders. The main point of a motion to enforce is that it serves as more of a reminder than a penalty, but there are still consequences for failure to adhere to these orders. A judge can decide to garnish wages or place a lien on personal property to enforce these orders. A motion of contempt can carry significant penalties if the party in question doesn’t comply. These penalties can include anything from court fees to jail time.
A motion to enforce deals specifically with debts, so your attorney can file a motion for the judge to enforce their ruling if your spouse fails to follow the terms of your settlement agreement. You can use this procedure if your spouse is protected from a contempt motion. Florida law protects parties from punishments due to an inability to pay a debt, so the court system will not hold your spouse in contempt for an inability to pay a debt, but it will take other actions, like wage garnishments and offsets.
The Importance of Legal Representation
The attorneys at Mitchell & West LLC can help you navigate the confusing details of your support payments to ensure that you are being treated fairly. If you and your ex-spouse have a cooperative relationship, then you can work together to determine how your alimony payments are paid. If your partner isn’t acknowledging a court-ordered payment, we can help! Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form to request more information.