Court orders

Enforcement of Court Orders Attorneys in Winston-Salem & Greensboro

Solutions and actions to enforce post-divorce orders in Piedmont Triad and surrounding areas

After a judge makes any type of decision on a family law case, like child support or alimony, that court order is considered final and binding. The order also outlines the responsibilities and obligations of all parties and how they are expected to follow the order – for example, the parenting plan and custody schedule, amount of child support or spousal support, or how property will be divided.

When both parties agree and sign off on this arrangement, they are each expected to follow it. However, if one person is not holding up their end of the agreement – like refusing to make alimony payments – he/she can face serious penalties, including contempt of court. If you need to enforce a court order or fear you may find yourself in contempt of court, contact the Piedmont Triad area family law attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. today for effective representation.

About family court orders in North Carolina

A family court order can include any order issued and approved by the family court, both temporary and permanent, including:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Property division
  • Separation agreements
  • Spousal support

Court orders most often violated typically include those involving child custody/visitation and payments like child support or spousal support. Failure to abide by these agreements can result in legal penalties, but first you must decide to notify the court of the failure or attempt to handle it through other means.

In cases where circumstances allow, the attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates can provide mediation services to help you and the other party resolve your divorce order disputes without getting the court involved. However, if you are losing financial support or time with your children because of the willful failure of your ex-spouse to follow a court order, we can assist you with order enforcement.

Do not attempt to enforce a court order on your own, and never violate a family court order in retaliation. Rely on our attorneys for knowledgeable help.


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Enforcing spousal support payments

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is often one party’s primary source of income following a divorce. For many individuals, running a single-parent household makes it difficult to find a high-paying job, and alimony provides necessary support.

When spousal support payments are not made on time, or not made at all, the other party must be held accountable. Your ex-spouse might claim that he/she cannot afford to make the payments anymore, or that you do not need as much support.

If you or your ex-spouse have an issue with the specific amount of spousal support owed or paid, you may petition for a modification of the order. However, as long as the order is in place, he/she is required to make those payments. Failure to pay alimony can result in the following penalties:

  • Collections
  • Contempt of court charges
  • Forced sale of property
  • Jail time
  • Wage garnishment

Enforcing child support payments

Child support is designed to take care of the needs of a child in the care of the parent with primary custody. Whatever the relationship between the parents, the welfare of the child comes first, and that includes financial support. If the non-custodial parent does not abide by the rules of the child support agreement, he/she can face penalties including:

  • Contempt of court
  • Interception of tax refund
  • Jail time
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Wage garnishment

Can I get retroactive child support in North Carolina?

Once a child support order is approved by the court, it is not subject to any retroactive modification. However, if you are establishing an original child support order, you are eligible to petition for back child support from the non-custodial parent for the past three years.

Our Winston-Salem child support attorneys can explain more.

Enforcing child custody agreements

Parents typically work hard designing a child custody agreement, and both should work hard to adhere to it. Children need a consistent, regular schedule where they spend quality time with both parents. If visitation becomes unpredictable or one parent withholds or ignores custody, the child can suffer.

Often, custody issues and violations start off harmlessly – maybe a parent is late one week, or cancels last-minute the next. Or the violations may be more blatant, where a parent simply does not show up for drop-off or refuses to allow a child to go on a scheduled vacation with the other parent.

In these cases, you may need to ask the court to enforce your custody agreement. The court can issue penalties including:

  • Contempt of court
  • Fines
  • Jail time

Can your attorneys enforce a child custody order from outside of North Carolina?

If you have moved to the Winston-Salem and Greensboro area from another state with your child custody order, we recommend consulting with our attorneys to register your order here, per GS 50A-305. By registering your child custody order in North Carolina, you are entitled to protection and enforcement under the law.

What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a set of laws adopted by 49 states, including North Carolina. It provides uniform guidance in the event several states are involved in a child custody dispute or enforcement matters. The UCCJEA:

  • Defines a protocol for enforcing existing custody issues
  • Determining which court has jurisdiction for hearing custody matters
  • Whether or not it is appropriate to issue a temporary or emergency order

The UCCJEA also addresses parental kidnapping across state lines. Do not hesitate to contact our attorneys immediately if you feel your child is at risk of being wrongfully removed from your custody by his/her other parent.

Can I violate a custody or visitation order if I fear for my child’s safety?

No. You can still be found in contempt of court for violating a custody order, no matter what the reason. If you do feel your child is in imminent physical danger or at risk, contact our attorneys to find out your options. You may be able to file for an ex parte emergency custody order, which a judge issues without the other parent present. These custody orders are temporary, and a hearing involving all parties typically occurs within 10 days.

Skilled NC court order enforcement attorneys

If your ex-spouse is not holding up his/her part of your divorce or custody agreement, do not try to handle it on your own. The family law firm of Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. can help. We work to settle your disputes and, if necessary, go to court to enforce your order. We serve people and families just like you in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad. To schedule a consultation with an attorney, please call 336-725-1985 or fill out our contact form.