When May Enforcing a Court Order Be Necessary?
Even if you want to give that person the benefit of the doubt, you need to take action to hold him or her to his or her obligations. Depending on what issue they are failing to comply with, it can create real lasting problems that could have a deep and lasting impact. Common issues where enforcement is necessary include:
Parenting Time and Child Custody
Is the child’s other parent failing to follow the court-ordered schedule of when the child should be with which parent? Apart from inconveniencing you, this can create instability and uncertainty for your child. It is hard enough for a child to divide his or her time between households without the challenge of an irregular schedule and the possibility of conflict because of that failure to comply.
Is your child’s other parent failing to honor your role in making major decisions? Are you being denied a say on such important issues as education, health care, and your child’s religious upbringing?
How to Enforce Parenting Time and Custody Orders
If the other parent refuses to follow the court order that is in place, you can file a petition with the court. The petition should state that your ex failed to comply with the order and request that the court take action. After a hearing, the court may decide to change the order. It may also decide to place sanctions on the non-compliant parent.
If a custodial parent interferes with the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent can file a “Petition for Enforcement of Visitation Order.” You will have to attend a hearing, at which you will testify regarding specific occurrences of violation — how many times the other parent failed to comply with the visitation order, as well as the specific time period in which it happened. If the judge finds that the custodial parent did violate the order, they may change the order and/or impose a fine or sanctions on the violating parent.
Are you receiving the full amount of child support you should every month? Anything less is denying your child the financial stability he or she deserves. It also places an unfair share of the burden on your shoulders.
How to Enforce a Child Support Order
If you are not receiving child support payments on time or you are receiving payments for less than agreed upon dollar amount, New York State makes the process of enforcing a court order quite easy.
The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has a Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU) and a Support Collection Unit (SCU) which will help you obtain your child support payments through more aggressive means. This can be especially useful when you’re not entirely sure where the other parent is living. They will locate the non-paying parent and initiate collections actions against them. These include:
- Garnishing of wages;
- Intercepting unemployment payments;
- Intercepting tax refunds;
- Intercepting lottery winnings; and
- Liens and levies on bank accounts and income-producing property.
Additionally, NYS has the power to initiate administrative actions against the non-paying parent. These include:
- Suspending their professional license; and
- Suspending their passport.
What Does the CSEU Do?
The CSEU attempts to resolve the issue with the non-paying parent. Their services include:
- Locating the non-paying parent;
- Establishing paternity;
- Performing a financial investigation; and
- Establishing a support payment.
A subdivision of the CSEU is the Support Collection Unit which conducts the administrative process of forcing the non-paying parent to pay the custodial parent. This includes keeping a record of how much funds are owed and how much funds are paid to the custodial parent.
What Happens If Administrative Processes Fail?
Let’s say one parent avoids work in order to reduce child support payments to the other parent. In such cases, the court can issue administrative penalties against that parent. This would include wage garnishments and the suspension of professional licenses, passports, and more.
In extreme cases, the court can issue jail or probation sentences. Enforcing a court order using the threat of jail time or probation is much better than actually jailing a delinquent parent as they will not be able to contribute money if they cannot work.
I’m Owed Money for Child Support. What Should I Do?
Once you’re owed more than $500, you can file an enforcement order in either divorce court or family court. This is known as a violation petition. If the court rules that the non-paying parent willfully avoided a require child support payment, it will:
- Issue a money judgment in your favor;
- Place a lien on the non-paying parent’s real estate;
- Force the non-paying parent to attend a jobs program; and/or
- Hold the non-paying parent in contempt and a criminal penalty (such as jail time or probation).
The court can also demand that the non-paying parent compensate you for any expenses related to enforcing the order.
Creating Solutions to Hep You After Your Divorce
At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we offer our clients representation that is backed by decades of combined experience that can help enforce current family court orders. We understand the difficulties that can be created when one party to an order fails to comply. You deserve to have the other party’s compliance so that you can make plans and decisions about the future. No one deserves to be able to unilaterally change the terms of a court order. We can help you fight to hold the other party accountable for his or her failure to comply with the terms of your order.
Our testimonials page highlights some of the good things past clients have had to say about us.
Family Court Order Enforcement Attorneys the Capital District and All of Upstate New York
You do not have to live with the challenges created by someone who is not following the terms of a family court order. We can ask the court for help for you. Call 518-631-3954, or contact us online to request an initial appointment with one of our Albany lawyers.