Dealing with Court Order Violations in Florida Family Law
Imagine meticulously going through the legal process to secure a court order, only to find that your ex-spouse treats it as a mere piece of paper, not a binding legal document. This is the reality for thousands of Florida residents; are you one?
If you’re wrestling with the issues of an ex-spouse who flagrantly violates court orders – alimony, child custody, or property division – you’re far from alone. Your emotional well-being, financial stability, and even your relationship with your children are at stake, and we are here to help.
Johnny Bardine of The Bardine Law Firm has helped hundreds of Florida residents leave a marriage on their own terms, with justice and respect for them and their children. Contact us today at (727) 605-7078 to get in touch and learn how we can help.
Court Order Violations in Florida Family Law Courts
While court-appointed parenting plans are far-reaching, three common violations appear over and over in proceedings:
- Alimony: Failure to make spousal support payments as mandated by the court.
- Child Custody: Not adhering to the agreed-upon or court-ordered custody arrangements.
- Property Division: Refusing to divide assets or debts as outlined in the court order.
The legal consequences for violating a Florida court order are severe. The most immediate action the court can take is to hold the violator in contempt of court. Through this legal finding, an individual can suffer fines or imprisonment, depending on the gravity of the violation and its impact on the other party.
Documentation is your strongest ally when dealing with court order violations. Every instance of violation should be meticulously recorded, as this evidence can be crucial in court proceedings. Maintaining a detailed record can significantly strengthen your case, whether it’s missed payments, denied visitations, or any other form of non-compliance.
Strategies for Tackling Court Order Violations
When faced with a court order violation, your initial reaction might be a mix of frustration and disbelief. However, there are structured steps you can take to address the issue effectively:
- Open Communication: Your first course of action should be to reach out to your ex-spouse. Sometimes, a simple conversation can resolve misunderstandings and ensure future compliance.
- Document the Conversation: Whether the talk is fruitful or not, make sure to document it. A clear timeline could be useful if legal action becomes necessary.
If an amicable resolution fails, you have several legal remedies at your disposal:
- File a Motion for Contempt: This is a formal request to the court to enforce the existing order. Evidence of the violation is necessary for any court to rule in your favor, making your earlier documentation invaluable.
- Seek Modification of the Court Order: If circumstances have changed significantly since the original order was issued, you may petition the court for a modification.
As mentioned, your first course of action should be to reach out to your ex-spouse. However, anything beyond that should only be undertaken with the help of a Florida divorce attorney with experience navigating the life-changing issues that can arise in Florida family courts. Depending on your current relationship, it may also be advised to only establish contact with your ex-spouse through an attorney. If you need help determining what to do next, contacting an attorney for a consultation is never a bad idea.
Willful and Non-Willful Acts
Violations come in all shapes and sizes, and each type of violation will bring its own set of nuances that lawyers look out for. One such nuance is the distinction between willful and non-willful violations:
- Willful Violations: These are intentional acts of non-compliance. Courts are less lenient in these cases, often resulting in stricter penalties such as fines or even jail time.
- Non-Willful Violations: These occur when an individual fails to comply due to circumstances beyond their control, like sudden financial hardship. Courts may show leniency here, considering the individual’s situation before deciding on penalties.
When disputes arise, you should never fight fire with fire. If possible, always maintain your current legal obligations, and don’t retaliate against your ex-spouse by withholding payments, ignoring parenting guidelines, or blasting them on social media. If your ex-spouse is shown to have willfully violated the agreements (while you respected them), you have a good chance of receiving a favorable ruling from a judge.
Contact A Florida Family Law Attorney Today
At The Bardine Law Firm, we love helping Florida residents through their legal issues – it’s what we do every day. To talk to Johnny and learn more about your legal options regarding your post-divorce agreement, contact us today at (727) 605-7078 or through our website.