In family law, enforcement cases are fairly common. When a person does not comply with the terms of a Court Order or written Agreement, the Court can hold the non-compliant person responsible and order that certain actions be taken. The type of enforcement proceeding depends on whether you have a Court Order (Petition for Contempt) or an Agreement (Motion to Enforce).
In a Contempt case, the Court will order the non-compliant person to appear and Show Cause why he or she should not be found in contempt. To establish contempt, you must prove that the person had an ability to comply with the Court Order, but chose not to so. For example, if you file contempt for non-payment of Court-ordered child support, you must prove that the person who did not pay had the money, but chose not to use it to pay child support.
If someone is found in contempt, the Court must order a purge provision. A purge is an act that must be done by a certain date (ex: pay child support, make up a visit, transfer an asset). If contempt is not purged, then sanctions can be issued, including payment of legal fees. A judgment could be entered against the party found in contempt. In very specific circumstances, jail time can be ordered.
If you do not have a Court Order, a Motion to Enforce may be appropriate and effective for obtaining compliance. There will not be a Show Cause hearing or purge provision, but it can get you the relief you seek. As experienced lawyers in Towson and Baltimore, Maryland, we will explain these options to ensure the correct approach is taken.
In addition to filing enforcement proceedings for clients, we can also defend clients in enforcement cases. There are defenses that can be asserted on your behalf.
If you want a family law lawyer to litigate or obtain and enforce orders and agreements, contact Wasserman Family Law. You will receive the experience, expertise, and compassion you need to navigate through your legal matter.