Modification & Enforcement of Judgments

One of Andy’s favorite speech topics is, “you can’t make people do things.”  You really can’t!  You can provide them with strong incentives, and you can punish them when they do not follow laws or orders, but compelling them to comply with the terms of a judgment is more about persuasion than it is about compulsion.

In court, the judge makes an order and expects it to be followed.  Some of these orders can be enforced, and violations of orders can be redressed by monetary fines or even (in very rare cases) imprisonment pending compliance. We have cases where parties from a divorce refuse to move out of the family home after the Judgment is signed—sometimes even failing to follow agreements they made themselves! Parents sometimes withhold parenting time that’s ordered by the court, for reasons that a court would not support.  Money owed by one person to the other does not collect itself.

We do enforcement cases all the time, and we are skilled at using enforcement as an incentive to persuade a reluctant party to comply.

One way to persuade your ex to comply with an agreement or an order is to change the order to better suit the situation.  For example, if a primary parent won’t let a child visit the other parent throughout a weekend that was agreed to and included in a judgment, enforcement might be coupled with a request to modify the parenting time to increase the non-custodial parent’s time with a child or to remove parenting time provisions that are being used to limit parenting time. The usual situation we encounter in Modifications is that a plan just doesn’t work the way it was supposed to.  Usually, it works much better for one person than for the other, so there is conflict.  We can help you use these linked tools, Modification and Enforcement, to improve your situation and incentivize cooperative behavior.

Best of all, however, is having a professional draft your agreement or judgment so that there are penalties built into the Order, so that you do not have to come back to court in the future if the other side won’t comply.