Enforcement issues could arise when one party does not comply with the terms of the court order. With either a final divorce decree or a final permanent parenting plan, court action is required and representation from an experienced attorney is strongly recommended if you have enforcement issues. This is because you have to set forth the type of contempt, either “civil” or “criminal” that you are seeking. You also have to be clear about the relief you are requesting. For example, if you are requesting incarceration of the person who is in contempt you have to set out the dates the person was in violation of the order and set out how the court order was violated, and the number of times the order was violated. Finally, both types of contempt require that the disobedience of the court order is willful. However, the definition of willful is different for civil contempt as opposed to criminal contempt.
If you choose civil contempt as your relief, you are asking that the wrong doing be compelled to perform an act that is within their power to perform. The wrong doer has to have the ability to purge themselves of the contempt.
If you choose criminal contempt, this is intended to punish the wrong doer for the willful failure to comply with the court’s orders. You would establish that the non-complying party had the ability to comply with the order when it was ordered and that the refusal to follow the order was willful.
The burden of proof to establish willful civil contempt is by the preponderance of the evidence. The burden of poof to establish willful criminal contempt is by a reasonable doubt.
When considering hiring an attorney to represent you in your Enforcement Issues/Contempt of Court matter you must find the best attorney for your situation. Because the factors in the Contempt of Court Statute are very complicated, the outcome of your case will vary depending upon the evidence you present to the Court.