Orlando Contempt & Enforcement Lawyer

Divorce is difficult enough, but things can get even messier if your former spouse refuses to comply with court orders. When your spouse fails to adhere to the divorce decree, you are entitled to protect your parenting rights. If you need an Orlando contempt & enforcement lawyer, the attorneys at the O’Mara Law Group have the experience you need.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara

Content last updated on: March 22, 2024

In many court cases, a judge’s order is the final say, putting the case to rest. Divorce cases, however, are not always so simple. While a judge may issue orders setting the divorce terms, such as parental responsibility, time-sharing agreement rights, and child support, parties still frequently violate those terms. 

Depending on the circumstances, these violations can cause inconvenience, lost parenting time, and financial challenges for the other party. In cases like these, enforcement and contempt motions may be appropriate. 

If your former spouse does not adhere to the terms of the court’s orders, hire a contempt & enforcement lawyer. The highly trained lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group can help you understand your rights, enforce the terms of the agreement, and fight for your interests in court. At the O’Mara Law Group, we provide our clients with deeper insight into their rights and help them fight to uphold the terms of the divorce decree. 

Experienced Orlando Contempt & Enforcement Lawyers

At the O’Mara Law Group, you will find a team of Orlando divorce lawyers with experience handling a range of issues, from the initial divorce case to the long-term needs of our clients.

Mark Rabinowitz has been Board Certified in Marital and Family Law in Florida since 1999. He has served on the Marital and Family Law Certification Committee of The Florida Bar, and has served as a member of the Family Law Rules Committee.

Firm founder Mark M. O’Mara started Justice Outreach, which aims to fix problems within the justice system and change state and national laws that interfere with justice. Furthermore, O’Mara has taught seminars at various institutions, including the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and the Florida Family Law for Paralegals Program. 

Our lawyers bring their extensive experience to every case, allowing them to provide a high degree of support to every client. We understand divorce may be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. When your spouse fails to adhere to the divorce decree, your stress may get extended. We seek to protect each client’s rights and ease associated challenges.

When to Pursue Enforcement or Contempt Charges

There are several critical times when you may need to pursue a motion to enforce or seek contempt charges. 

Issues with Child Support and Alimony

Child support and alimony payments are integral to the budget of the spouse receiving them. Unfortunately, some people go out of their way to avoid paying their former spouse, even if their children will not have the funds for basic needs or educational opportunities. A child support lawyer helps build an arrangement in the child’s best interests, but the former spouse may refuse to adhere to the arrangement.

Time-Sharing Issues

Transferring children between parents can be frustrating and time-consuming. Some parents struggle to make it to handovers on time, which proves particularly problematic when the other parent is on a tight schedule. Of course, even the best-meaning parent will sometimes be late for a transfer. However, you may need to return to court under one of two circumstances. 

Ongoing Issues

Sometimes, one spouse may choose to create ongoing issues for the other. For example, some parents are often very late with drop-off and pick-up times. Others may routinely be “unavailable” on the days they are supposed to care for their children, leaving the other parent struggling to adjust their schedule. Returning to court over child custody challenges can help sort out those issues.

One-Time Issues

You also have the right to take your spouse to court over large one-time issues related to the divorce decree. For these issues, you may need to show substantial danger to the children or disregard for the terms of the divorce decree. For example, when a parent disappears with the children on a long, unapproved vacation or refuses to hand over a child or children for the other parent’s time. 

Property Division or Debt Distribution Concerns

Some divorces can prove problematic when one partner refuses to adhere to the divorce agreement’s property division or debt distribution terms. For example, the divorce decree might indicate that one partner will continue to live in the home while the other must move out. If your ex-spouse refuses to vacate the home, you may need to return to court to seek enforcement.

Debt distribution can also prove problematic. For example, the court may order one partner to assume credit card debt and remove the other from the account. If that person continues to rack up debt and cause problems with the other person’s credit, it could be grounds to seek enforcement of the court’s order. 

Motions for Contempt and Enforcement: Key Differences

There are several key differences between a motion for contempt and a motion for enforcement.

A motion to enforce is typically used when a spouse refuses to comply with orders covering equitable distribution, such as ignoring the need to refinance a major purchase or take the spouse’s name off a marital debt named in the divorce decree. Notably, debts cannot be subject to a contempt motion under Florida law. Thus, a motion to enforce is the only option to deal with such matters. 

On the other hand, a motion for contempt occurs when one spouse fails to follow key court orders of the divorce decree, including issues such as parental responsibility, time-sharing agreement, and spousal maintenance.

Process for Filing a Motion for Contempt or Enforcement

You should contact a lawyer if you need to enforce a court order, including a divorce decree. A divorce enforcement lawyer, such as our team at the O’Mara Law Group, can provide you with more information about your legal rights and support you through the legal process such as the following steps:

  • Fill out Form 12.960
  • Provide a copy of the divorce decree if not issued in the same county where you are filing the motion
  • Submit the form to the address your spouse laid out on Form 12.915
  • Work with your lawyer to establish your spouse has not complied with a court order
  • Attend the hearing

Penalties for Contempt in Florida

In Florida, contempt can carry several penalties, including the following:

  • Jail time of up to one year in cases of criminal contempt
  • Fines of up to $500 in cases of criminal contempt
  • Modification to the current divorce decree

The court can also enforce the decree through paycheck withholding or measures designed to ensure compliance. Wage garnishment is an option for failure to pay child support.

Do I Need a Contempt and Enforcement Attorney in Orlando?

If your former spouse has failed to adhere to the terms of your divorce decree or court order, an Orlando contempt and enforcement attorney can offer several benefits. The O’Mara Law Group can do the following for you:

  • Look out for your best interests and protect your rights
  • Evaluate and interpret laws
  • Establish the evidence you need to provide enforcement
  • Represent you in court

With a lawyer on your side, you have better odds at a positive outcome to your motion, including improved decree enforcement. 

Rely on the O'Mara Law Group

The O’Mara Law Group has the experience necessary to support your motion for enforcement or contempt in the Florida court system. Our attorneys intricately understand the details of Florida law and always fight to protect our clients’ rights. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about your next steps. 

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