Enforcement of Court Orders After Your West Virginia Divorce is Finalized

One of the most common topics I get questions on after my clients have gone through the divorce process is about enforcing court orders after the divorce. People think since a court order says both of you have responsibilities it’s all set. However, what happens if the other person doesn’t comply with the order? This is when you would need to file what’s called a petition for contempt. A petition for contempt is a petition that is filed in the family courts in West Virginia to enforce a court order. An example would be say that somebody is responsible to pay on a certain credit card after the divorce is filed and they don’t do it. This is when you can file a petition for contempt against that person. This will mean they will be brought before the court and have to explain to the court why they did not do what they were supposed to do. Sometimes they might have a defense or reason as to why they haven’t been in complying with the order.

Does Everyone Need To Follow Court Orders?

Everyone has to comply with a court order and if they are found to be in contempt, the court has several options as to what can do as far as penalizing you for not following through on the orders. They can award the person, the other ex’s attorney fees. In some instances, they can even incarcerate a person, although that’s not a common practice. Being in contempt of court can come down to anything at all that you can think of where a person might be ordered to do something. Such as paying alimony, paying child support, not cooperating and enforcing the parenting plan the way it’s supposed to be enforced. All of those things are things that can be brought up in a petition for contempt. It’s really important that you don’t sit on your rights when it comes to enforcing certain things.

What about other parenting situations where the courts can enforce an order?

Let’s say the two of you are taking care of everything with the courts for a while, then consistently for longer than 6 months, the other party is going contrary to the parenting plan. Then what can happen is the other person could argue that there is in place what’s called a de facto parenting plan. As soon as the person is in violation of the order, it’s very important that you make sure that they know that you do not agree with what they’re doing and that they need to do whatever it takes to comply with the order of the court.  To summarize, what you need to do in the event that somebody is not complying with the court order is to simply file a petition for contempt. You go before the judge and the judge decides what to do. That’s a pretty good overview of this issue for you today.