Everything You Need to Know About Violating a Court Order

Everything You Need to Know About Violating a Court OrderWhen it comes to family law matters, it is very likely there are court orders in your case that both you and your ex-spouse or co-parent are prohibited from violating. When the court makes an order, it is legally binding. These types of orders may cover child support payments, spousal support payments, or child custody agreements, and usually outline specifically how each party must fulfill his or her duties. Any failure to do so could result in serious penalties for the accused, and a load of trouble for everyone involved.

What court orders might apply in family law?

Any directive given to you by the court must be followed in accordance with the law, including family matters. Family legal matters may relate to the following issues:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Restraining orders
  • Protection orders

How might someone violate a court order?

Most court orders provide very specific guidelines, which makes it fairly easy to recognize a violation of that order. For example, if your ex-spouse is ordered to pay a specific amount in spousal support to you once a month, by a certain date, they will be in clear violation if they do not pay that full amount by the specified date. Likewise, if a parent refuses to give his children to their mother on a day she is granted visitation rights, he is in violation of the court-ordered visitation.

What are the consequences of violating a court order?

If one party violates the court’s orders, he or she may be held in contempt of court. This means the person who violated the court order is now charged with a crime and is to be held liable for his or her delinquencies against the court.

However, if you know you are going to violate a court order, you can take preventative action to gain permission from the court before an actual violation occurs. For example, in issues of child or spousal support, the paying party may suffer a serious financial change, making those court-ordered payments impossible to pay. In cases such as these, an appeal may be filed to petition the court for a change to the court order, usually only on a temporary basis. Changes can also be made for issues of custody, such as if one parent wishes to relocate or renegotiate custody.

What can you do if you are charged with contempt of court?

Should you be charged with contempt of court for violating an order, you do have certain rights and means through which you might defend yourself. The accused person has the right to be formally notified of the charges against him or her, and the right to legal counsel. Additionally, the accused has the right to a hearing, where he or she may testify on the matter. The other party must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you, the accused, are guilty.

What can you do to enforce a court order?

If your ex is violating a court order, contempt of court can only do so much. The accused would then face criminal charges, and you still might not obtain your child support, spousal support, or whatever it was that had the other party violating the order. In some cases, especially those involving nonpayment, the court may order the other party to provide you with the payments you are owed. The court may use wage garnishments to keep the paying party accountable and to ensure they make the payments they are required by law to make.

Every case is different, which is why it is so important to see a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation before taking action. Our attorneys at McKinley Irvin can discuss your family law issue, whether you have been charged with contempt of court or your ex has violated a court order. We can help you understand your rights and create a plan of action to assist you and your family through your legal matter.

For help with your family law issue, contact McKinley Irvin in our Oregon office.