Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders in Florida
Family law judges have the legal authority to make decisions related to your divorce, timesharing plan, child support obligations, alimony/spousal support obligations, and other issues. Along with your divorce settlement agreements, these rulings generally become court orders that both parties must obey. These orders commonly outline your obligations, duties, and rights pertaining to the relevant subject matter. If either party disobeys or violates any aspect of the court order, the aggrieved party has the right to have the order enforced through various actions by the court. Once it has been established in court that an individual has failed to comply with a court order, he or she can be held “in contempt.” This phrase means that the individual has knowingly disobeyed the order.
Florida courts have various ways of enforcing family law court orders, depending on what has been violated. For example, if an individual violated the terms of a timesharing plan, the court may formally order the noncompliant parent to comply, make give the aggrieved parent extra time with the child, or order some other type of sanction against the noncompliant parent. In a case where a parent has failed to provide child support, past-due support and future payments may be subject to wage garnishment, tax refunds, or property liens. A court may also suspend the noncompliant parent’s driver’s license or take some other form of enforcement or penalty.
The above decisions by the court will be determined in a contempt hearing. The aggrieved party will have the burden of proving to the court that the other party failed to comply with the court order. The other party will be given the opportunity to show that he or she did not have the ability or intention to violate the order. It is up to the judge to decide the outcome based on the evidence presented.