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Enforcement of Family Law Orders Although the marriage contract is effectively dissolved in a Florida divorce, many issues may

still surface. If one of the former spouses is not fulfilling his or her obligations under a court order, there are legal remedies available to you in the state of Florida in order to enforce those orders and protect your rights. Papers may be filed intended to compel action for any of the following: y y y y y Nonpayment of child support Nonpayment of alimony Failure to follow a court established visitation/time-sharing schedule Failure to liquidate assets in order to meet court ordered requirement for payments Failure to take a spouses name off a mortgage, etc.

The first step in the process of forcing an individual to conform to an original court order is to file a petition requesting the court to declare the violating party in contempt. If the violating party is willfully not fulfilling his or her obligations, the court will establish penalties. On the other hand, if the violating party fails to fulfill his or her obligation due to something he or she cannot voluntarily control the court is not likely to hold him or her in contempt. Compliance When not paying money ordered to be paid by the court is the issue, the court has many different ways of mandating compliance: y y y The placement of liens on property Collecting the violating partys IRS tax refund(s) The filing of a motion for contemptOne party will be required to appear in court to defend his or her actions. If the party fails to comply, he or she could face jail time or there could be financial consequences for the opposing side. Taking unemployment checks Taking workers compensation checks Automatic wage deductionTaking payment directly from employment paychecks, etc.

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Final family law court orders may include child support, child custody, alimony and property settlement orders. Modification There are always two sides to family law order enforcement disputes. If you may have fallen behind on your obligations, you may want to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney. He or she can help you to avoid the potentially worst consequences and may be able to

help you to lower your obligations by means of a modification caseone where one party requests that the court modify an existing judgment or order. Child Support Nonpayment of child support ordered by the court is by far the most common problem parents face after a divorce. Judges may order jail time for violators of child support payment especially those who are found to have willfully withheld payment. Federal and Florida State procedures are in place to force violators to comply with court ordered child support payment. These include wage garnishment or levies against existing bank accounts, retirement accounts, or assets. Payment of child support over jail time is always the preferred outcome in the case of a child support case. Child Custody Another common area in which parents seek enforcement of family law orders is child custody. Interfering with court granted custody rights, failing to deliver children, or turn them over to the other former spouse may result in contempt of court charges being leveled against the violator parent. If the parent who has maintained custody relocates without obtaining the appropriate court order allowing him or her to do so, he or she can also face contempt of court charges. Repeated violations of child custody orders can lead to the reworking/reopening of the court ordered parenting plan in order to avoid future violations. Out-of-State Family Law Order Enforcement Violations of out-of-state divorce and paternity orders can normally be addressed in the state of Florida and under Florida statutes. Even if a couple were divorced in another state, if the former husband moved to Florida, the former wife could have the final judgment enforced in the state of Floridanot in the state where the divorce occurred. She would need to obtain a certified copy of the final judgment from the other state and file what is called a Petition to Register and Enforce Out-of-State Final Judgment. The Florida court would enter a final judgment registering the out-of-state final judgment as a Florida decree. The Florida judge could then enforce the judgment as if it had been administered inside the state of Florida. Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act In Florida the Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) makes certain that child support or child custody orders from another state are recognized and enforced in Florida. The law was specifically intended to prevent courts from drafting different, conflicting support or custody orders when the family relocates. This makes it possible for the state in which the children of a marriage currently reside to recognize and enforce the existing child custody or

child support court orders. Because of this important Florida legislation, child support decisions and visitation rights are recognized in the state of Florida regardless of where a couple lived when the divorce was declared final and the family law court orders put into effect. Contact an Attorney! If someone is not fulfilling his or her obligations under a current order for child support, alimony, visitation/timesharing, or another family law issue, contact the Law Offices of Brian M. MoskowitzFamily Law Attorneys serving South Florida. Call us at (561) 369-4481 or fill out our online contact form. These articles are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Professional legal counsel should be sought for specific advice relevant to your circumstances.