Some divorces are more contentious than others. The judge is responsible for making sure the divorce proceeds according to the law and the rights of each spouse are protected. Issuing court orders dealing with support, custody and other matters helps maintain order and clarity during the divorce. The judge may issue an order on his own motion or upon the motion of a party. A motion brought by a party may be either non-emergency or emergency in nature. The judge has many options for the enforcement of orders that are are not followed.
Non-Emergency Motions to the Court
Non-emergency motions may be filed to address custody and visitation issues while the divorce is pending. A motion may also be filed requesting an increase or decrease in support payments or a request for one spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other. Standard interim orders may require that health insurance is maintained during the divorce process, prohibit disposition of assets while the divorce is pending and bar overnight guests when the child is home. Non-emergency motions are filed following the normal process established in that county.
Many times emergency motions request a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prohibit or force one spouse to act, not act or maintain the status quo until a full hearing on the matter may be held. Unlike regular motions, emergency motions sometimes may be filed with little or no notice to the other party. Seeking a personal protection order is an example of when the other side may receive no notice, for fear of retaliation from the offending spouse before the protection order is issued.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
The collection and enforcement of child support is usually handled by a local friend-of-the-court or other child support enforcement agency. The divorce court judge may order one spouse to pay child support while the divorce is pending. In the event your spouse does not make the ordered child support payments, the child support enforcement agency may issue a wage garnishment order against your spouse’s work pay, tax returns or bank accounts; or request the non-paying spouse’s driver’s license be suspended.
Contempt of Court
When a party violates one of the orders, the judge may hold that person in contempt. Sometimes violating a judge’s order is unintentional, but many times it is not. After finding a party in contempt, the judge has several options for punishing the violator. He may order the party to be jailed until willing to comply with the order. This is especially likely when the behavior is a repeat problem, such as continued failure to pay child support, violating a no-contact order or violating a personal protection order.