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What is the Difference Between a Motion for Contempt and Enforcement in Florida?

Board Certified Boca Raton Divorce Attorney

If your ex-spouse refuses or fails to obey a court order following a divorce in Florida, you may wonder whether you should file a Motion for Contempt or a Motion for Enforcement. Often, people do not distinguish the difference between these two motions.

Motion for Contempt vs. Motion for Enforcement in Florida

Failure to understand the difference between a Motion for Contempt and a Motion for Enforcement in Florida can complicate and delay your case when trying to hold your former spouse accountable for their refusal to meet their financial obligations. It is advised to speak with a Boca Raton Contempt & Enforcement attorney to determine the most appropriate legal recourse in your case.

Regardless of whether you are filing a Motion for Contempt or Enforcement in Florida, you will need to demonstrate evidence that:

  • The current order was issued by a court in the State of Florida and is enforceable and valid; and
  • Your former spouse failed or refused to abide by the order.

There is one key difference between a Motion for Contempt or Enforcement in family law proceedings. A Motion for Enforcement is filed when you want to ask the court to seek compliance with a court order or agreement. A Motion for Contempt, on the other hand, is filed when there is evidence of willful disobedience of a court order.

A Motion for Contempt in Florida

A party can be held in contempt when they refuse or fail to obey an order or decree that has been issued by a judge. For example, you may file a Motion for Contempt when the other parent refuses to pay child support.

Florida law recognizes two types of contempt:

  1. Civil contempt is used to coerce a non-compliant party to abide by the terms of a court order or decree.
  2. Criminal contempt is used to punish a non-compliant party for their failure to comply with a court order.

If you were awarded alimony or child support, but your former spouse fails or refuses to make support payments, our Contempt & Enforcement attorney in Boca Raton can help you file a motion asking the court to find the non-compliant spouse in contempt of court. In Florida, persons found to be in contempt of court face penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

A Motion for Enforcement in Florida

Once a judge issues a valid order, the judge has continued jurisdiction to ensure that the parties comply with that order. When either party fails to comply with the order, the other party can file a Motion for Enforcement, asking the judge to enforce the order. If necessary, the judge may garnish the non-compliant party’s wages, place liens on their property, issue a monetary judgment, or impose other penalties to oblige the party to comply with the order.

It is advised to consult with a skilled divorce lawyer in Boca Raton to protect your legal rights and ensure that your former spouse obeys the court order. Contact our board-certified family law attorney at Lewert Law, LLC, for a free case evaluation. Call at (561) 544-6861.