Saratoga Family Law Attorney Discusses Violating a Divorce Order
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What kind of penalty can I expect for violating a divorce order?
I am out of work and waiting for a SS Disability hearing. my divorce order says I have to pay for half of my child’s educational costs. Now I owe my ex $1300, with no job and unable to work. What can I expect a magistrate to levy as a penalty?
Contribution to educational expenses is a child support obligation. You should consult with a local attorney and consider filing a Petition to Modify your Support obligation.
If your order goes unmodified, and you continue to fail to pay, your ex can seek to enforce your obligation either through a Family Court enforcement petition (commonly called a “Violation Petition”), which is more common, or a motion to hold you in contempt of court through the Supreme Court (the less common route, but has stiffer penalties available).
Both avenues are serious proceedings. If you are found to have willfully violated the Order, the court will order you to pay any legal expenses for your wife to purse your violation in court. In addition, as the others have said, you could be subject to fines for each violation, suspension of your driver’s license, and even incarceration is possible.
It is also important for you to understand that the court will consider your violation “willful” so long as you 1) were aware of the order and 2) failed to pay. It is not enough to simply say “I didn’t have the money, so I couldn’t pay.” In that situation, you are expected to apply to the court for modification.
Have you violated a divorce order? If so, contact the experienced Saratoga Family Law Attorney Jennifer Sunderlin.