Family Law Enforcement and Modification

Family Law Enforcement: Attempting to force a party to obey a court order relating to child custody, visitation, support, or an order related to a divorce. 

When should I file an enforcement action?

  • An enforcement action should be filed if a party to a case is not following the court order. By bringing an enforcement action, you are asking the court to force the other party to obey the court order. In some cases, you may be able to recover attorneys fees from the opposing party for your enforcement action. There are time limits for you to request enforcement, so you should seek legal assistance as soon as you realize that the other party has failed to follow the court order.
  • After your divorce or suit affecting parent-child relationship case was final, did the other parent fail to follow the possession schedule set out in your court order without prior agreement otherwise? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get the schedule enforced.
  • After your divorce or suit affecting parent-child relationship case was final, did the other parent fail to pay a child support payment or pay insurance coverage payment? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get these items paid.
  • After your divorce or suit affecting parent-child relationship case was final, did the other parent fail to reimburse you for your out-of-pocket uninsured medical expenses that you incurred for your child(ren)? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get these items paid.
  • After your divorce was final, did the other party fail to pay any spousal maintenance/alimony payment? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get your spousal maintenance/alimony.
  • After your divorce was final, did the other party fail to refinance or sell real or personal property? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get these items completed.
  • After your divorce, did the other party fail to transfer money or property to you as ordered in your final decree of divorce? This is enforceable and you should seek legal assistance to get these items paid.

What types of things can I enforce?

  • You can file an enforcement action for many reasons but some of the most common reasons we see are listed below:
    • When an ex-spouse is not turning over money or property as ordered in a divorce decree.
      • This may include bank accounts, vehicles, personal property, or real property specifically awarded to you in the Final Decree of Divorce.
    • When a party falls behind on child support.
    • When a party fails to maintain insurance for the child.
    • When a party fails to pay medical bills for the child.
    • When an ex-spouse fails to make spousal maintenance payments.
    • When a party withholds your child during your visitation period.

‚ÄčTIP: Keep a calendar of each time they have withheld visitation. Text messages requesting your court ordered visitation can also be used as evidence.

  • When a party violates a protective order or restraining order.
  • When an ex-spouse has not signed the deeds necessary to take possession of property awarded to you.
  • When a party is attempting to take the child out of the country and does not receive cooperation from the other party.

TIP: Sometimes it can take a while to get in front of a judge. If the other party is not cooperating, you will want to get this taken care of well in advance of your trip.

Family Law Modification: Changing a child custody, visitation or support order.

When should I file a modification action?

  • When terms previously agreed upon or ordered are no longer workable and things have substantially changed.

What type of things can I modify and how do I modify them?

  • You can file a modification for many reasons but some of the most common reasons we see are listed below:
    • There was an asset not addressed in your divorce decree.
    • Your current possession schedule is no longer workable.
    • You want to pay less child support.

TIP: You may have lost a job or you have a long-term illness or disability that has lessened your income. Remember, verbal agreements with the other party is not enough to prevent the Attorney General from charging you extra in fees and interest. Further, you may possibly get jail time for non-payment of the court ordered child support without legal assistance and a formal request for modification.

  • You want the other party to pay more child support.

Tip: The other party may have gotten a raise/promotion or a new job that will increase the child support obligation. These increases are not automatic and must be requested through formal agreement or formal request for modification.

  • Your child may have new special needs (medical or educational) that may warrant additional child support.
  • You want control over your child’s education.
  • You want control over your child’s medical treatment.
  • You want the other parent to pay for your child’s medical treatment.
  • You wish to move the child outside of the geographic restrictions.
  • The other parent relocated.
  • The other parent is living with someone who poses a risk to your child.
  • The other parent frequently ignores the agreed upon visitation schedule.
  • The other parent is having issues with drugs or alcohol.
  • You and the other parent agree to modify any of the above and you need an attorney to draft and process the agreed modifications through the court.

We recommend hiring a qualified family law attorney to help you navigate through the process of modification or enforcement. Contact our offices to schedule a no charge consultation appointment at 214-559-7202.