Enforcement of a Divorce Order

If there is a court order, or even settlement agreement which is incorporated into an order, you are bound to follow it. Unfortunately, there are times when a party does not follow the court’s order. For example, a party may not pay alimony or reimburse you for expenses you incurred on behalf of your child. When this happens, you must go back to court to have the judge enforce the order. You would have to file what is known as an enforcement motion.

First, before you file an enforcement motion, you must make sure that the other party is fully aware that they are violating the court’s order. For this, I often counsel my clients to send the other party a certified letter clearly stating what they need to do and provide proofs. For example, if you are owed $1,000 for your child’s hospital bill, you should send a certified letter to the other party with a copy of the hospital bill explaining that this amount is owed. That way there is no dispute that the amount is owed and it will be clear to the judge that the other party is not complying.

If there is no response, then you need to file your motion for enforcement. The motion should clearly set forth what you need to enforce, why the other party is required to do what you are asking, and provide proof that you have requested them to do your request. In conjunction with the enforcement request, I often ask for counsel fees as well. If it is apparent to the judge that the other party was willfully failing to comply with the order, I have seen counsel fees awarded. However, it is not guaranteed. In more egregious cases where a party is habitually failing to comply, monetary sanctions can also be awarded.

It is important that your enforcement motion is properly submitted to the court so that you can get the relief you request. I would suggest you contact me to go over your case if you have to enforce an order.