Resolve Family Law Matters
Contempt & Enforcement of Custody, Child Support & Alimony Orders in Florida
Family Lawyer Heather Karmeris at Karmeris Family Law can help to enforce court orders related to divorce and custody, as well as defend against contempt and enforcement actions. Contempt is the willful violation of a court order. It is the law in Florida that every child has the right to financial support from both parents until the age of 18, and that child support be paid on time and in the full amount. If a parent is not complying with a child support order, the state’s Child Support Enforcement Program uses many tools to make sure the parent pays the support including contempt.
Once a contempt hearing is set, there are really only two defenses:
- The order was not violated at all.
- The order was violated, but the violation was not willful. If you are found to be in contempt, you may face some or all of the following consequences:
- Income deduction
- New hire reporting
- Driver, hunting and fishing license suspension
- Intercept or seizure of assets
- Contempt of court
- Arrest warrants
If you have been falsely accused of contempt, the court can order the other party to pay your attorney’s fees.
Contempt of Visitation
It is a violation of the court order to deny visitation to a non-custodial parent. If this is happening to you, we can help. If the court finds the custodial parent in violation of the order, that parent may face a fine, incarceration, or both.
Florida Procedure for Filing a Motion for Civil Contempt
To enforce a prior court order or final judgment for time-sharing (custody), child support or alimony, you may file a Motion for Civil Contempt/Enforcement. In the motion, you must explain what the party has failed to do, such as denying access to your child during scheduled parenting time or failing to pay child support.
Along with filing the Motion with the county court where your case is being handled, you must personally serve the motion to any other parties in your case. This puts the parties on notice that you are taking legal action.
After you file the Motion for Civil Contempt/Enforcement, the court will set a hearing date. Once you know the time and date of the hearing, you must again serve notice on other parties in your case. At the hearing, you will have the burden of proving that the other party has not obeyed the court order or final judgment, while the other party has the opportunity to show an inability to comply with the court order. If the other party is not able to show inability to comply, he or she may be found in contempt, which means the judge may order appropriate sanctions to compel compliance, such as:
- Jail time
- Payment of attorneys’ fees, suit money or costs
- Coercive or compensatory fines
- Any other relief permitted by law
Family Lawyer Heather Karmeris helps many clients enforce court orders for time-sharing and support payments; we also have experience defending people who are unable to comply with a court order after divorce.
We help clients interface with the Child Support Enforcement Program to ensure child support enforcement is handled appropriately. We can also help if you have been served with a Motion for Civil Contempt/Enforcement.