Legal Counsel for Holding an Ex-Spouse Accountable
At Skupin Law Group, PLLC, we understand the difficulties of having to cooperate with an ex-spouse on terms of a court order, such as a spousal or child support agreement. We have 16 years of experience in family law and recognize the uniquely complicated and emotional nature of these matters. We will work with you compassionately and efficiently to help you enforce the terms of your court order.
Orders are designed to be binding contracts for a lengthy period of time, and require both parties to work together amicably. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the state of your relationship with your ex-spouse may make this difficult. Often, stubbornness and conflict causes one party to fail or refuse to comply with an agreement. If your ex-spouse is failing to follow through with a court order, you can petition the family court to enforce it.
It is imperative that you notify the court immediately if there has been a violation of a court order. This is done through a contempt action called a “Rule to Show Cause.” This petition asks the court to hold the opposing party in contempt until he/she complies with the court order. To hold a party in contempt, you must prove that the party failed to comply with the order and that the non-compliance was “willful.”
What You Need to Fill Out
To fill out a petition you will need to fill out the following:
- Name, address & telephone number
- Name of the person who is the petitioner on the court order
- Name of the person who is the respondent
- Case number of the order in question
- Date of the order you wish to have enforced
- Name of the obligor (the person who owes you the support)
- Name of the judicial officer who signed the order of support
- Amount of support to be paid and when it was to be paid
- Total amount of support that is past due and owed to you
- Time period over which the past-due support was not paid
If you want the hearing set quickly and you believe you can have the Order to Appear served on the other party at least three days before the hearing, check the box “15 days only.” If you wish the court to take any further action, you will need to describe the action you wish the court to take.
Finally, you will need to sign your name, complete an Order to Appear, file the originals of each of these documents with the Clerk of the Superior Court, pay fees and serve a copy of the Request to Enforce Support and Order to Appear on the obligor. Due to the complexities of the legal process, it is in your best interests to involve an attorney.
Support Enforcement Methods in Arizona
If an ex-spouse is not complying with a court order, you do have options for enforcing it. For example, in cases where the noncustodial parent is refusing or failing to make the child support payments, the Department of Child Support Services or (DCSS) can get involved and offer assistance in dealing with the opposing party. The court can also help enforce child support and other agreements.
Various methods of enforcement include:
- Withholding of Income- The past due support is taken directly from their income or financial benefits such as unemployment, retirement or workers’ comp benefits.
- Credit Bureau Reporting- This report tracks every support payment and if 180 days pass and the support payments have not been paid, then it can affect their credit report. This method makes it difficult for the noncustodial parent to obtain a loan if their credit has been poorly impacted.
- Seizure of Assets- This is where the Arizona Department of Child Services is permitted to seize money in bank accounts. This method is only in cases where 12 months have passed without making support payments.
- Suspension of Licenses- If the noncustodial parent has at least six months of past due child support, then DCSS has the right to suspend their driver’s license or other recreation licenses.
- Property Liens- If the noncustodial parent has a significant amount of past due child support, then DCSS has the authority to place a lien on their property including their home or vehicle. A lien makes it impossible to sell or refinance that property until the support is paid.
- Interception of Tax Refunds- When a noncustodial parent owes at least $50 in child support, then the DCSS has the right to take the payments out of the their State Tax Refund.
- Seizure of Lottery Winnings- If the noncustodial parent wins a lottery of $600 or more, then the DCSS has authority to intercept that money and take the amount of support that is owed.
Compassionate Counsel From a Phoenix Family Law Attorney
Our attorney, Michael Skupin, is passionate about family law and wants to help you enforce agreements that were ordered by a judge during a divorce or child custody battle. Don’t let an ex-spouse take a court order for granted; let us help you hold him or her accountable. Fill out our free case evaluation form to learn what we can do for you.