What To Do if Your Ex-Spouse Violates a Court Order

After a divorce, there are legal orders that both parties must follow moving forward. This can pertain to child custody or visitation, spousal support, or the divisions of assets. In ideal situations, both parties respect and follow these terms. However, there are times when one party refuses to comply with the orders or violates them.

Having an ex-spouse disobey court orders or disrupt the legal process can create a lot of stress. To assist you in moving forward, we’ll explain what to do if your ex-spouse violates a court order. 

Understanding Court Order Violations

A court order is a legally binding document that outlines specific actions and responsibilities for both parties involved in a legal proceeding. During a divorce, court orders can pertain to various areas such as child custody, alimony, child support, and the division of assets. A party disobeying the arrangement will violate these court orders.

Communicate With Your Ex-Spouse

Sometimes, reaching out to your ex is the first course of action, but this depends on your situation.

For example, if your ex refuses to make child support payments, you should keep track of this and notify your lawyer. If you have a healthy co-parenting relationship, you may contact your ex before notifying the court of the a violation. Depending on their financial circumstance, keeping up with child support may have become difficult for them; sometimes, changes in financial situations may require you to modify the child support payment order.

Prioritize Your Safety

Do not attempt addressing the issue alone if you do not feel safe around your ex. Instead, contact an attorney once the violation occurs so that you can begin the legal process.

Hire a Mediator

You can hire a mediator if you feel uncomfortable or have difficulty communicating with your ex. This professional will act as a neutral third party and facilitate communication between you and your ex.

Protect Your Child

Co-parents should always act in the best interest of their child. You can file for emergency custody if your ex-spouse fails to meet the custody or visitation orders or if you have reasonable cause to believe your child is in danger. Colorado courts always protect the child’s best interest, and if you have evidence that your child is not safe with your ex, the judge may approve a change in custody.

File for Contempt of Court

Filing a motion for contempt of court is a key step if your ex-spouse violates a court order. The state of Colorado allows individuals to file this charge when the other party willfully disrupts the legal proceeding or refuses to obey it. Moreover, this motion formally requests the court to impose consequences on your ex-spouse for their non-compliance.

Understanding the types of contempt of court—direct and indirect—makes filing this legal order easier.

Direct Contempt

Charges of direct contempt of court can occur when one party refuses to cooperate in court. When committing direct contempt of court, the guilty party may use disrespectful language or disrupt the legal process.

Indirect Contempt

Indirect contempt of court refers to a party’s behavior or actions outside the courtroom. Examples can include refusing to meet child visitation rights or not following the terms of a property division agreement.

Pro Tip: Document the Event

If your ex-spouse disobeys legal orders, always document the event and keep it in a secure location. Communicate with your attorney immediately to create a plan and reduce the risk of future instances.

The Impact of Contempt of Court Charges

Once you file a Motion for Contempt, the judge will review the information and determine whether there is cause to move forward. If the judge agrees to proceed, you will have the other party formally served with contempt papers. There will be a hearing to fully evaluate the case from here.

Both parties should always attend the hearing. If the party that filed fails to show up to court, the judge may dismiss the case. Moreover, if you are accused of contempt of court and fail to show up, you may face fines or more serious legal penalties.

When a judge finds an individual guilty of contempt, that party may have to meet their end of the agreement and face legal fees or jail time. The outcomes vary for every case, depending on the reason for filing the order and the specific details of the hearing.

Tips for Hiring an Attorney

It’s best to consult a legal professional whether you need to file for an Order of Contempt or face charges. You’ll want to find a family law attorney with extensive experience with cases like yours.

Consider Your Budget

The price of an attorney can vary depending on the law firm. As you search, remember that a more knowledgeable and skilled lawyer often comes at a higher cost. Strive to balance a lawyer’s expertise with your budget.

Find the Right Type of Lawyer

You need to hire a family law attorney for matters related to marriage, divorce, alimony, and child custody. These individuals specialize in your state’s laws surrounding those subjects, so they’ll have the expertise necessary to help you through the process.

Schedule a Consultation

Always schedule a consultation with the lawyer you plan to hire. Attend the consultation with questions and information on your case. This is the time to get to know the attorney and decide whether they are a good fit. You may have to share sensitive information with your lawyer as you prepare for court, so you should feel comfortable around them.

Ask About Past Cases

During the consultation, ask the attorney what types of cases they normally take on, what their experience level is, and how often they achieve the client’s goal.

Be Honest

Your attorney will have an easier time advocating for you if they clearly understand your case. Be honest and reach out to them as instances arise with your case. If your spouse suddenly refuses to meet their end of the custody arrangement, contact your lawyer to discuss the issue and plan your next steps. You may not have to go straight to court; by talking with your attorney, you create the optimal action plan.

Contact Us

Jones Law Firm, PC, has family law attorneys in Denver, CO, and the surrounding area. Hire one of our contempt of court lawyers to advocate for your rights throughout the court case. Schedule a free consultation to meet with our team and begin planning the next steps.

What To Do if Your Ex-Spouse Violates a Court Order

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).