Enforcement Lawyer Chicago
What is enforcement?
“Enforcement” is the power of a Court to compel a party in a divorce to follow a Court Order or Judgment. It is statutory in nature, and is formally titled a Petition for Adjudication of Indirect Civil Contempt (sometimes commonly known as a “Petition for Rule to Show Cause”). While civil in nature, once the Court finds that the non-complying party is in contempt and that contempt is without justification or a defense, the Court may enforce its Order or Judgment through such sanctions and punitive measures as fines, payable to the Court or to the complaining party, to such severe penalties as jail time until the defending party complies (known as a “purge.”).
Why would someone need to seek a Chicago enforcement attorney for enforcement?
While a direct violation of a Court Order appears simple on its face, there are technicalities involved which may make this procedure daunting if not impossible to successfully pursue due to the stringent technicalities of this legal procedure. Some Courts go so far as to insist that the petitioning party correctly labels the complaint as a “Petition for Adjudication of Indirect Civil Contempt.” Failure to follow these technical requirements may be sufficient for the Court’s rejection of the petition, and the complainant will be forced to refile, which may be done only under certain circumstances. At Katz & Stefani, our Chicago enforcement attorneys also focus on family law, which allows our firm to ensure you avoid costly if not fatal errors. You may also be able to have the non-complying party pay your attorney fees if their non-compliance is without “compelling cause or justification”.
What options does someone have when seeking enforcement of child support?
The primary option for enforcing an award of monthly child support is the Petition for Rule to Show Cause. Once a complaining party demonstrates that the defending party is in violation of an Order/Judgment, a “Rule” is issued demanding that the defending party show through an evidentiary hearing that his or her “intent” as to the violation is innocent due to certain technical defenses. These may include such defenses as the minor child’s marriage to the impossibility of satisfying the Court’s Judgment due to a change in circumstances. That change in circumstances, which is generally a demonstrable and intervening inability to pay, entails a full hearing.
This evidentiary hearing, which is in effect a mini-trial, requires that the civil rules regarding the entry of evidence, objections and testimony apply. Depending on the length of time the defending party is found to be in violation, child support awards can be substantial, especially when the timing and request for monetary sanctions, interest on the unpaid amount, and potential payment of your attorneys’ fees are calculated and factored into a winning petition for unpaid child support, also known as “retroactive” support. Attorneys’ fees are often awarded when a Court determines that non-compliance with an Order or Judgment is “without compelling cause or justification” and non-compliance as to a party’s obligation to pay child support is the one violation that defending parties are commonly jailed for until their support obligation has been satisfied.
At Katz & Stefani, LLC, our family law attorney in Chicago, IL focuses on the following practice areas:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Collaborative Divorce
- Grandparents Rights
- Jewish Divorce
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Spousal Support
How does your firm help your clients with enforcement issues?
At Katz & Stefani, our enforcement attorneys are experienced in drafting compelling petitions, preparing for contempt hearings and their concomitant technicalities, as well as conducting these hearings on a regular basis. From asking the right questions at the initial meeting with the potential client (you), to seeking the correct documents and carefully preparing for the hearing, and prepping you for the public testimony, your chances of receiving the best outcome are significantly improved, and your time and money well-spent.