Post-Dissolution Contempt, Enforcement, and Modification Proceedings

Contempt Proceedings: there are two types of contempt:

  • Civil contempt – the purpose of civil contempt is to force the former spouse to comply with a court order; an example
    would be when the former spouse has failed to pay courtordered
    alimony or child support; attorney’s fees are usually awarded to the non-offending spouse; the court can order the offending spouse to jail to force compliance
  • Criminal contempt – the purpose of criminal contempt is to punish the spouse who is in contempt; examples include if a former spouse committed perjury in court, lied on his or her
    financial affidavit, or purposely hid marital assets

Enforcement Proceedings: the purpose of enforcement proceedings is to require former spouse to fulfill his or her obligations under the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage and/or Marital Settlement Agreement; examples include forcing the former spouse to refinance the former marital home, turn over personal property, pay-off marital debt, etc.; often, attorney’s fees are awarded to the prevailing party

Modification Proceedings: after a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered, the parties are able to modify portions of the Final Judgment which pertain to either support (alimony or child support) or custody and timesharing. The standard to modify a Final Judgment is that there has been a substantial and
unanticipated change in circumstances.