North Carolina Family Law issues are routinely resolved via Court Order. These Orders can distribute property, set alimony or post-separation support, establish a child custody and visitation schedule, or require a parent to pay child support, among many other possibilities. Court Orders are intended to be followed, but sometimes that is not the case and one or even both parties can violate the Court Order. Fortunately, there are remedies for violation of an Order.
Resolving a party’s non-compliance can often be resolved without any legal action at all. This can be done by simply communicating to another party that they have run afoul of an Order and that their future compliance is expected. Often, this is enough to resolve the dispute. However, when a party still refuses to comply with an Order, there is a legal remedy available via the contempt powers of the Court.
A Motion for Contempt is request to the Court to enforce the terms and conditions of an existing Court Order and to hold the offending party in contempt until they comply. Contempt may be either civil or criminal, carrying fines and/or possible incarceration until compliance is met. In order to succeed on a Motion for Contempt, a party must be able to establish: (a) there is a Court Order requiring the other party to do (or not to do) something; (b) that party violated the Order; (c) his or her violation was or is willful; (d) the Order remains in effect; and (e) the party has the ability to comply with the Order. If the Court finds all of these elements exist, the violator can be held in contempt (facing fines and/or incarceration) until they have complied with the Order.
When a party fails to comply with a Court Order, the matter can hopefully be resolved outside of court. However, sometimes matters can only be resolved in the courtroom. If you need help gaining another party’s compliance with an existing Court Order, please contact us today at F:P:Site:Phone} to schedule a consultation.