Los Angeles Divorce Order Enforcement Attorney in Claremont Serving Throughout California
In an ideal world, obtaining a final divorce order would be the last word on the matter. You and your former spouse would have your property divided, support rights and obligations determined, and custody rights set. Unfortunately, divorces are often not so simple. Divorced parties often are unwilling, and are occasionally unable, to satisfy their obligations under the final divorce order.
If your former spouse is refusing to pay the child support or alimony that they owe, or if they are withholding your visitation and other parental privileges, you do not have to face these injustices alone. For help enforcing a divorce order in Southern California, call a passionate and effective Claremont paternity attorney at Blasser Law.
Enforcing Support Obligations
A divorce order is a legally-binding document. You and your spouse have a set of rights and obligations with the full force of law behind them. If your ex owes you child support or alimony, they have to keep up with those payments, regardless of their circumstances or whether your relationship with them has turned hostile. If your ex has failed to keep up with their support obligation, a dedicated Southern California divorce order enforcement lawyer can help you recover the amounts you are owed.
If your ex is not keeping up with their support payments and they have not obtained a modification from the court, you can take them to court for the delinquent amounts. The court has the authority to grant a variety of remedies to ensure payment, including:
- Garnishing their wages
- Placing the delinquent party in contempt and subjecting them to penalties, including potential jail time
- Restricting their visitation or custody rights
We understand that the novel coronavirus pandemic has created financial hardships for many people. While that may be the case, hardships go both ways, and failing to pay child support or alimony to a parent who has also lost income can be just as damaging. Your ex is legally obligated to keep up with their payments unless you agree to delayed or reduced payments, or they obtain a court order granting them a reprieve. While we encourage parties to resolve matters on their own where possible, including discussion of modified payments as a result of the pandemic, your former spouse’s legal obligation remains the same until you or the court say otherwise. Call a court order enforcement attorney to discuss your rights and options for enforcement today.
Enforcing Custody Rights
If your former spouse is violating the terms of your custody agreement, you might have even more remedies available to you. You have the right to see your kids, and your former spouse does not have the authority to prevent you from doing so, regardless of your interpersonal relationship with your ex. Petty disagreements do not give them the right to keep your kids from you.
You can go to the court to seek a “contempt” order, under which the court could find that the party willfully disobeyed the court order. Deliberately ignoring a court order can subject a party to severe penalties, including limitations on their custody rights and even jail time. Demonstrating willful disobedience is a complicated court process, and we strongly advise that you retain a seasoned Los Angeles family law attorney to help you through the process. To support your case, keep records of all visitation violations, including a calendar with the dates and times that you were scheduled to have custody or visitation and your ex refused.
In addition to going to court to seek penalties, you can also go to the police or other authorities. Custody orders grant you the explicit right to visit or take custody of your children. Show the order to the police, and they may be able to help you enforce the order. You can also call the district attorney in your county. Ask for the Child Abduction and Recovery Unit. They should be able to help you.
We cannot stress this enough: Do not take matters into your own hands. The fact that your ex is not fulfilling their obligations under the divorce gives you grounds to seek enforcement, and punishment, in the court system. It does not give you the right to act unilaterally without court authority.
Some divorced parties believe that obligations following a divorce are a “this-for-that”: If my ex wants to see their kids, then they need to pay their alimony and child support. So, if they are delinquent in their child support and alimony, I can keep them from seeing our children. This is not the case.
If your ex has a court-ordered right to custody and visitation, you do not have the legal authority to stop them from exercising those parental rights without a court order. If you refuse to let them see their kids for their court-ordered visitation or parenting time, you are also violating a court order. You are likely to face penalties in court, including limitations on your own parental rights. You could lose primary or joint custody. Withholding children from a legal parent can even be seen as a form of kidnapping, subjecting you to criminal penalties. If your former spouse is violating the terms of a divorce order, call your attorney and go through the proper court channels for enforcement.
There is a limited exception: You may go against the terms of a court order to protect yourself or your children from immediate harm. If you are legitimately afraid that your former spouse will hurt you or your kids, you can keep them from visitation. In such a case, it is still important to call your attorney, petition the court for emergency relief, and, if you are in immediate danger, call the police.
Call Blasser Law in Claremont for Help Enforcing a California Divorce Order
If you need help enforcing your parental rights or your former spouse’s child and spousal support obligations, contact the passionate and effective Claremont family law attorneys at Blasser Law by calling 877-927-2181.