You’ve won the court hearing and you were granted relief either in the form of custody of your grandchild or in the form of court-ordered visitation. Despite this, the parent or parents of the child are not following the court order that you fought so hard to win.
How do you tell the court that their order is not being followed? Although you may want to walk up to the judge and let him or her know that the order that was signed is not being followed, the law will not allow you to do this. Nor will the law allow an attorney to do this. Instead, your remedy is called a motion for enforcement. This is generally combined with an order to appear.
The motion for enforcement is the way you tell a judge that you believe an order signed by the court is not being followed or has been violated. The teeth to a motion for enforcement is that a court has the ability to put the person in jail if they do not show up for court or if they are found to have violated the order without a legal, justifiable defense.
Because of the fact that jail time is possible, a motion for enforcement that seeks contempt (which can lead to jail) has special rules and requirements. This is something that needs to be handled by a legal professional well-practiced in the in’s and out’s of family law and litigation.
The person who is facing the motion for enforcement must be personally served and given not less than ten days notice of the hearing on the motion for enforcement, not including the date they were served.
Because the person is facing at least the possibility of incarceration, they must be personally served. You can’t take advantage of some of the other methods of service permitted by the rules of procedure, such as serving someone else at the house or attaching notice to the front door. Accomplishing service might be tricky if the person is evasive, so be certain that you give your attorney all the information you can about how and where to find this person you want to serve.
Because incarceration is a real possibility, the person responding to the motion for enforcement might be entitled to a court-appointed attorney. This too is something that is subject to the advocacy process, so having the right attorney represent you can mean the difference in all aspects of the motion for enforcement.
You cannot bring a motion for enforcement to force someone to utilize court-ordered periods of possession and access because that is a privilege, not an obligation. But you can seek to force the payment of court-ordered child support, access to a child and myriads of other portions of a court order.
If you have any questions about enforcing your rights as a grandparent, call the experienced family law attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson today.