Portland Enforcement Lawyers
If your ex-spouse refuses to adhere to a court order, such as paying spousal support, you can request an enforcement of this order or judgment. A court order is enforced through contempt of court, which can be done if an individual refuses to comply with the order. A finding of contempt does not happen automatically. To accomplish this, you will need to present your case before the court alongside proper evidence to prove the other individual failed to obey the court order.
How to Enforce a Court Order/Judgement
To enforce a valid, existing court order or final judgement, you need to file for a Motion for Civil Contempt/Enforcement, detailing how the other individual disobeyed the order. Some examples of a violation may include but are not limited to denying access to your child during parenting time, refusing to pay child support, or missing spousal support payments.
How to Find Someone in Contempt of Court
You can start the process of finding your ex-spouse in contempt by filling a Motion for Contempt or a Motion for Order to Show Cause to request that a judge hold your ex-spouse in contempt.
When you request a judge hold your ex-spouse in contempt, you are not just asking the court to enforce your order, you are also asking the court to find that your ex-spouse intentionally disobeyed a legally binding court order. This is considered a crime and has serious consequences, including paying a fine and serving jail time.
An experienced lawyer can determine whether an action for contempt would be the best option for you and your family. Unless the violations continue and are serious enough to put your child at risk, the judge may just adjust the court order and require that the parent who disobeyed the court order pay a fee to cover your legal expenses.
When to Enforce a Court Order
In the event your ex-spouse’s attitude or feelings change and he/she refuses to comply with a child support, spousal support, child custody, and/or visitation order, you will need to consult with a lawyer and go to court.
It is important to note that you must have a valid court order in place before requesting a motion to enforce it. For instance, without a child custody order, you can only enforce your custody agreement if you believe your child is in immediate danger.
Enforcing a Child Custody & Visitation Order
If you established a court ordered parenting agreement and must enforce it, you have two options: negotiate or go to court. Before you consider filing a court action, it would be beneficial to think about what would be in the best interests of your child. You may be able to negotiate with you co-parent or seek the services of a mediator to come to a resolution and stay out of court.
However, in the event the child custody and visitation violations are severe, you will require the assistance of a judge. A severe violation may include but is not limited to the following:
- Missing visitation exchanges
- Chronically showing up late to visitation time
- Interfering or interrupting visitation time
- Refusing to take the child to school, extracurricular activities, and/or important appointments
- Abusing a substance such as drugs or alcohol (especially in front of the child)
If you must report your co-parents’ actions as they are considered dangerous, you can also call the police or the District Attorney’s office for assistance.
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Once in place, both parents are obligated to follow a legally binding court order. Oregon requires compliance with parenting plans and other court orders. When one individual is in violation of a court order, it is advisable for the other to file a motion to seek enforcement with the court. As this is a lengthy process that can get complicated, it would behoove you to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer before proceeding.