Enforcement and Contempt of Court in West Virginia
Family law attorneys who will protect your interests
Divorce is frustrating enough when both you and your former spouse hold up your end of the deal. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If your ex-spouse isn’t paying child support, failing to comply with the child custody agreement, or otherwise violating the terms of your divorce or separation, you have options. We can help.
Klie Law Offices understands the process to get divorce decrees and other family court orders enforced in West Virginia. Our family law attorneys can petition the court to hold your former spouse, partner, or co-parent in contempt of court and hold them responsible for their side of the divorce. Schedule your case evaluation today.
Refusal to follow the terms of divorce can have serious consequences
When you get divorced or legally separated, there is a binding court order that applies to you and your former spouse. Some common violations of divorce decrees include:
- Not paying child support or spousal support as ordered
- Not following the terms of the child custody agreement, parenting plan or visitation schedule
- Not cooperating with the property distribution order, for instance, by failing to make payments or refusing to sign documents to transfer or refinance property
It goes without saying that these violations are serious business. Failure to comply with the child custody and visitation schedule means your children don’t get the care and consistency they need. In addition, if you’re depending on your co-parent for childcare, you may not be able to get to work or meet other personal obligations. And if your ex is refusing to pay child support or spousal support, or to take responsibility for debts, that can have significant financial consequences.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and even angry in such situations. That’s why you have recourse through the family courts.
Court orders are not optional, and there are consequences for violating them.
The first thing you need to remember is that you cannot violate the terms of your divorce decree, even if your ex-spouse is doing so. For example, if your ex is not paying child support, you can’t just decide to deny them visitation. You must comply with the terms of the child custody schedule until and unless it is modified by the court.
Instead, you first need to inform the other party that you are not okay with what they are doing (otherwise, they may claim that there is a de facto change to the separation agreement). Then, you can have your attorney file a petition with the court to hold your ex-spouse in contempt. The court can enforce your rights by ordering the other party to comply with the parenting plan, pay child support, transfer property, or do whatever else they need to do. The court can also order your ex-spouse to pay your attorney’s fees. A judge can even send them to jail if they still refuse to comply, but it’s rare to get to that point.
What if I’m being falsely accused of violating my divorce?
Unfortunately, some people do misuse the family court system to harass or put pressure on their co-parents and ex-spouses. We also have experience defending against petitions for contempt if you are in this situation. For instance, we may argue that you were, in fact, in compliance with the divorce decree. We may also be able to argue that your ex-spouse consented to a de facto change to the parenting plan.
Contact Klie Law Offices today to discuss your situation
Ultimately, whether you are trying to file a petition for contempt or respond to one, you need an attorney on your side who knows West Virginia law and knows the family courts. We have extensive experience advocating for West Virginians in family court, and we understand the procedures and protocols to follow. We can handle all the legal aspects of your situation while you focus on your family.
If you need help with post-divorce enforcement or contempt of court, don’t go it alone. Get an experienced family law attorney on your side. Contact us to schedule a case evaluation.