Santa Rosa Enforcement Lawyer

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Coming to an agreement about custody can be a very difficult time for everyone involved, and in some cases, it can be even more difficult to enforce custody orders. Just because custody orders have been finalized doesn’t mean that all the work is done. Whether you believe the other party may violate the custody agreement or they have already violated the order, you have options to protect yourself and your child or children. A Santa Rosa enforcement lawyer can help.

Understanding Custody Judgment Enforcement in Santa Rosa, CA

If you don’t already have an agreement in place, it’s crucial that there is a custody order in place that is recognized by the courts. If the other party isn’t acknowledging the custody agreement, you may need to file a motion with the court.

This order may be called a Motion for Civil Contempt or a Motion to Enforce Custody and Visitation. Once this motion has been filed, the court will then put a hearing on the schedule to determine the reason for the violation.

While you can engage law enforcement to enforce custody orders, they typically prefer not to become involved unless a crime is being committed. Should an emergency arise, the courts can schedule an emergency hearing to solve issues. Emergency hearings are typically held when one parent refuses to adhere to the custody agreement and doesn’t allow the other parent access to the child or children in Santa Rosa, CA.

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Contempt of Court for Custody Enforcement

One of the strategies for enforcing court orders is to conduct a proceeding for contempt of court. During this kind of proceeding, the parent who is in noncompliance must answer to the courts for their failure to adhere to the order. While the parties don’t need to have legal representation, using a practiced attorney can help you achieve a favorable outcome with better results.

In order for the outcome to be favorable to the petitioning party, they should have the following:

  • A court order for custody
  • The defendant is cognizant of the custody agreement
  • The defendant’s violation of the order was willful

If the defendant is found guilty of contempt, there may be the possibility of criminal penalties. This entitles the defendant to rights, including being notified of the charges, a hearing for the charges, and the right to defense counsel.

What May Result in Contempt of Court Charges

There are a few different things that a party may do that can result in them receiving a charge for contempt of court. These different actions may include:

  • Not Following a Court Order. Any such orders that the court makes may be violated by the party, and this can result in them being charged with contempt of court. This can include seeking employment, a protection order, and any financial instructions from the court.
  • Not Paying Spousal Support. If the party isn’t paying their spousal support, they can be held in contempt.
  • Not Paying Child Support. As with the failure to pay spousal support, not paying child support may result in a charge of contempt.
  • Not Paying Attorney Fees. If the party was ordered to cover court costs or even counsel fees and they do not, this could result in contempt.

Contempt of Court Penalties

Contempt of court can result in serious penalties for the violating party, not limited to criminal penalties. The violating party may have to give up some of their custody time that is equal to what they took from the other party. Additionally, they may be required to pay for any court and attorney fees that were incurred due to their violation.

Aside from these penalties, court-issued penalties may also result. For a first-time contempt of court charge, the offending party may see a fine of up to $1000 and up to 5 days of jail time. A second contempt of court charge may see the offending party with up to 120 hours of community service and an additional 120 hours of jail time for each contempt charge. For third and future charges, penalties double.

FAQs About Santa Rosa, CA Enforcement Laws

What Happens if You Don’t Follow a Family Court Order in California?

You may have to face some serious consequences if you violate family court orders. Not only may a violating party see monetary fines as a result of violating family court orders, but they can also be found in contempt, which can also result in jail time. Penalties double if they continue to be found in contempt.

How Do I Enforce a Family Court Order in California?

If you have a standing court order for custody, you can file a motion about the other party’s violation of the court order. The courts will then schedule a hearing where the violating party will have to explain the reason for the violation. They may be found in contempt of court for violations. It may also become necessary to modify the original court order.

How Do I Prove Contempt in Family Court in California?

There are a few things that are required to prove contempt in family court. First, there must be an existing court order regarding custody. Additionally, both parties must be aware of the court order. Finally, it must be shown that the violating party chose to do so willingly. If all three of these things are true, it is much easier to provide evidence for contempt.

At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in California?

While there is an assumption that a child can choose which parent they want to live with, this is actually a myth. A child cannot refuse to see a parent in California state until they reach the age of adulthood. In some cases, though, a child’s preferences can be taken into account.

Child custody can be an incredibly contentious situation, and making sure that both parties follow the court orders can be tough. The attorneys at Carroll Law Office can assist you with making sure that your court-ordered custody agreement is enforced. Contact our team today to schedule your consultation to protect you and your family.


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