Enforcement of Existing Orders
Sometimes a party may have difficulty holding up their end of a bargain or complying with court-mandated instructions given out by a Judge. Luckily, there is a remedy. Unfortunately, the remedy does require you to go back to Court. If the other side is not doing what he or she is supposed to, such as paying spousal maintenance (alimony) or child support, you can file a Petition for Contempt and bring the non-complying party before the Judge.
The downside of these types of actions is that the enforcement that is being sought is typically the payment of something, like spousal maintenance and/or child support, that you are in need of and going back to Court is going to cost more money to get what is already owed to you. Fortunately, we can ask the Court for the attorneys’ fees and costs that you incur to enforce payment of the support owing, but it is up to the Judge whether he or she will award the attorneys’ fees and costs that are requested.
Various Methods for Enforcing Court Orders
The filing of a Contempt Petition with the Court is considered a new action in the family law Court and it does require the same formalities as the original underlying action such as service of the Petition and Order to Appear (a document that states when the hearing is) and appearances before the Judge.
Sometimes, the mere filing and service of the Contempt Petition will get the attention of the non-complying party and sometimes he/she will come current before they have to see the Judge and attempt to explain why he/she didn’t do what he/she was supposed to. It doesn’t work with every case, but often can be an effective tool.
Another type of enforcement action is the enforcement of a foreign order, meaning someone got an order in another state and that party now needs to enforce the Order against a person living in Arizona.
For this to occur, the foreign order must first be domesticated in Arizona and once that process is complete, the Order can be enforced in Arizona as if it had been obtained through a Court here.
While frustrating, sometimes requesting assistance from the Court for enforcement of the order may be necessary if you are unable to resolve the issue outside of the courtroom directly with the other party.