Rockland County Enforcement of Court Orders
At the end of a divorce, paternity case, child custody dispute, or other family law legal proceeding, the judge is likely to institute court orders for matters such as child custody, visitation, and child support. Parties subject to court orders are supposed to comply with them voluntarily; they are obligated to follow the law, and there are consequences if they don’t. If your former spouse, partner or co-parent isn’t obeying court orders, there are steps you can take to force them to comply, but taking the wrong actions can wind up getting you in trouble and not getting what you want. The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can help. Our experienced family law attorney knows the legal mechanisms that will be most effective in your particular case, and he is a seasoned litigator should your matter require going to court for motions or contested hearings. Contact our experienced Rockland County enforcement of court orders lawyer today for swift action to compel compliance with court orders or defend against unfounded allegations that you are out of compliance.
How Do New York Courts Enforce Child Support?
In the ideal world, divorcing spouses create the custody and support orders that work best for them and meet their needs through negotiation or mediation, and they have no problem voluntarily complying with their agreement. This isn’t always the case, however. These matters are often contested, and one party might be left unsatisfied with the result. Although they can appeal the court’s decision, while any court orders are in effect, they must be obeyed. Rockland County courts retain jurisdiction over their orders and have ways to enforce them. State agencies like the Department of Child Support Services can help as well. The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can identify the best way to get your order enforced and guide you and represent you through the appropriate process.
Courts have many tools at their disposal to force a parent to pay the child support they owe. Either the parent or the Support Collection Agency can file a support violation in the Rockland County Family Court. The court will hold a hearing to determine whether the order is being violated, and both sides can be (and should be) represented by an attorney to prove their case. If the order has been violated, the court will enter a money judgment covering the amount owed. If the violation was willful, the court could also incarcerate the parent for as long as six months.
With a money judgment in hand, your lawyer has different ways to enforce that judgment through the courts. These include:
Putting a lien on the parent’s property. The parent cannot sell that property without first paying off the lien, and you might be able to force the sale of the property to pay the judgment owed to you.
Getting an order requiring the parent’s employer to withhold income or garnish wages and pay your judgment in installments before the money ever gets to the parent.
Intercepting the parent’s federal or state income tax refund and satisfying your judgment out of those funds.
Aside from collecting on a money judgment, the court or the child support agency could also take steps to coerce the parent into paying by:
Suspending the parent’s driver’s license if they are more than four months past due on child support
Denying the parent a passport if they owe $2,500 or more
Freezing their financial assets if they are more than two months overdue and owe more than $300
Intercepting a lottery prize if they owe more than $50
Reporting them to various credit bureaus if they are past due more than two months or owe more than $1,000
Suspending their professional or occupational license, business license, or recreational licenses such as hunting or fishing licenses if they are more than four months past due
What if My Child’s Other Parent Is Violating the Custody Order?
Child custody orders include schedules for custodial time and visitation, and they often dictate how, when and where exchanges are to take place. Sometimes emergencies arise, and a parent might mess up the custody schedule. For the sake of the children and future custody exchanges, it’s worthwhile to be flexible and forgiving when emergencies pop up. However, if your child’s other parent is intentionally or consistently violating the custody plan, it’s time to go to court with an experienced divorce litigator at your side.
If you prove your case in court that you were denied your custodial time, the judge could order make-up custody or visitation time. The judge also has the power to modify the custody schedule, including changing the balance of custodial time between the parents. The judge would only take this step if convinced such an order would be in the child’s best interests.
Judges also have the power to hold the parent in contempt of court for violating the court’s custody order. A contempt citation usually involves a financial penalty, but there is the possibility the court could order jail time as well. Even just the threat of incarceration accompanied by a civil fine is often enough to get a parent to comply.
Some parents try to enforce custody violations on their own by keeping the child longer to make up for the time they lost, or by keeping the child past their custodial time when the other parent isn’t paying support. This is a mistake because it puts these parents in violation of the custody order and subjects them to all the penalties discussed above, or even serious criminal charges like child abduction or kidnapping. Be sure to stay in compliance with court orders, and call your child support agency or your attorney for help enforcing court orders against your co-parent.
Contact The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine Today
If you are having trouble paying child support or complying with the child custody order, or if your child’s other parent is out of compliance, The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can help. Call our experienced Rockland County enforcement of court orders lawyer today.