Virginia Post-Divorce Enforcement Lawyer

Following a divorce settlement, ongoing obligations are often required of each party involved. These obligations may include spousal or child support payments, custody or visitation requirements, or failure to fulfill some other court-imposed order.

When a former spouse fails to follow the provisions of a divorce decree, the court should be given notice of the violation as soon as possible. The assistance of an experienced Virginia post-divorce enforcement lawyer can often make a major difference in simplifying complex, post-divorce court processes. Individuals should seek the services of a seasoned divorce attorney that could work towards a positive outcome for them.

Enforcement of Divorce Decrees in Virginia

A divorce decree is an enforceable order set forth by the court regarding a divorce proceeding. Often made under the authority of a Virginia family law judge, the divorce decree effectively summarizes the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the divorce. It is important to note that only the court has the power to modify the terms of the decree.

There are several methods that can be employed to ensure that divorce decrees are fully enforced. Aside from a breach of contract action, one of the most popular methods is a motion for contempt of court.

When an individual is held in contempt of court, this means that they have violated some provision of an order issued by the court. The violation of the order, however, must be willful. If a party is able to prove that the individual violated the court order but unable to prove that they did so willfully, the court will likely refuse to hold the individual in contempt.

Contempt of Court

In Virginia, contempt is required to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. If the party bringing the action is able to show that the violation was, in fact, willful by a preponderance of the evidence, a number of consequences can ultimately result. These consequences include:

  • Monetary sanctions
  • Wage garnishment
  • Jail time

Consequences of Contempt of Court

One of the consequences of contempt of court is that the court may decide that the former spouse should receive a fine for their willful violation of the divorce decree. This often occurs in cases where a former spouse refuses to award the other parent their right to visitation with a child. In addition to a fine, the court may also choose to hold the former spouse responsible for the other party’s attorney’s fees.

If the former spouse is responsible for outstanding funds owed to the other party, the court also has the power to garnish wages. This process ensures that any money owed is in fact received. A former spouse who fails to comply with the court, for example, through their failure to pay child support, may also receive time in jail. The former spouse will usually be released once they pay back any money that was owed. A Virginia post-divorce lawyer could work to mitigate the consequences an individual may face for contempt of court.

Judge’s Role in Determining Contempt of Court Consequences

Judges have a great deal of discretion in determining the appropriate remedy for actions involving contempt of court. A court-ordered remedy might include payment of amounts overdue, often accompanied by some amount of interest, or the construction of an appropriate repayment plan.

Working With a Virginia Post-Divorce Enforcement Lawyer

More often than not, divorce can be a difficult and overwhelming process marked by anger and frustration. If a former spouse has failed to adhere to their obligations within a divorce decree, a lawyer can assist in making matters right again.

To better understand your legal options, contact our firm today to learn how a Virginia post-divorce enforcement lawyer can assist you.