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Contempt/Enforcement Motions

You have an order in place for your family and the opposing party is not abiding by the terms.

You have an order in place for your family and the opposing party is not abiding by the terms. Maybe you have a domestic violence injunction and your abuser is still showing up to your house, your former spouse is not paying their child support or obeying the timesharing schedule put in place by the Court. The violating party can be found in contempt of the Court and the Court can move to enforce a previously issued order.

In Ex parte Crews, the Florida Supreme Court defined contempt as “Any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct the court in the administration of justice, or which is calculated to lessen its authority or its dignity.” Ex parte Crews, 173 So. 275, 279 (1937). Another explanation of contempt of court is simply a party in which an order is issued against does not comply with the terms within the order. For example, you are ordered to pay $100.00 in alimony to your ex-wife every month. You fail to pay her $100.00 a month and instead pay $25.00 per month, you could be found in contempt of court. “Courts have the authority to enforce a judgment by the exercise of their contempt powers.” Parisi v. Broward County, 769 So. 2d 359 (Fla. 2000).

Types Of Contempt In Florida

There are two types of contempt in Florida, criminal contempt and civil contempt. In family law, both forms of contempt can apply depending on the stage of litigation. Contempt typically begins in a civil manner. Sometimes the parties will be required to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of the petitioning party, specifically any legal fees acquired in an attempt to get the non-conforming party to comply. If the party continues to not comply, sometimes the Court will issue a Writ of Bodily Attachment and the non-conforming party will be arrested for their contempt.

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How Long Will You Be Incarcerated?

The arrested party will sometimes have to sit in jail until their able to pay their debt accumulated as a result of their contempt or sometimes the Court will take other actions such as criminal charges. Pursuant to Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.615(f) “notwithstanding the provisions of this rule, at any time after a contemnor is incarcerated, the court on its own motion or motion of any party may review the contemnor’s present ability to comply with the purge condition and the duration of incarceration and modify any prior orders.” Civil contempt is often enforced and initiated by the Court whereas criminal contempt is often brought by the prosecutor’s office.

How Is Contempt Determined?

In order to determine if a party is in contempt of court, the court must analyze if the order allegedly not being obeyed has (1) clearly defined an obligation, (2) the accused party has the ability to comply with the order, and (3) the accused party has willfully refused to comply with the order. Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.615(c). For example, the Court may issue that a Father pays $1000 a month for child custody, an amount the Father is more than capable to pay.

In an attempt to punish the mother for divorcing him, the father chooses not to pay the child support even though he is able. The Father is willingly refusing to not comply with a court order in which was clearly defined in the final judgment of divorce and he has the ability to comply with the order. Therefore, the Court will likely find that the father is in contempt of court. Initially, the Court will impose sanctions for contempt of court, like the attorney’s fees and costs of the opposing party which were accumulated in an attempt to get the non-conforming party to comply with the court order. If the Father continues to not comply with the order despite being held in contempt, then the Court may eventually move against him criminally.

The court is not only limited to sanctions and arrest to force a party to comply with the court order issued. Additionally, the Court holds the power to suspend the non-conforming party’s driver’s license, garnish their wages, suspend occupational and business licenses, put liens on their property, and seize their assets. Such relief is granted to the Court specifically to enforce the payment of child support under the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program.

Pursuant to Fla. Family Law Rule of Civil Procedure 12.615(b), civil contempt can be initiated by the filing of a Motion for Contempt. Any contempt motion must be served to the person in which the contempt is being alleged against. So, if a Mother is filing a Motion for Contempt for non-payment of child support, then the Father must be given notice of such hearing on the Motion for Contempt. The notice must specify the time and place of the hearing and must contain the following language: “FAILURE TO APPEAR AT THE HEARING MAY RESULT IN THE COURT ISSUING A WRIT OF BODILY ATTACHMENT FOR YOUR ARREST. IF YOU ARE ARRESTED, YOU MAY BE HELD IN JAIL UP TO 48 HOURS BEFORE A HEARING IS HELD. The motion must recite the essential facts constituting the acts alleged to be contemptuous. Fla. R. Fam. P. 12.615(b). Once the non-conforming party has notice of the hearing regarding contempt, the court will hold a hearing in which they will decide if the non-complying parties meet the standard to be found in contempt of court. Sometimes, one order granting a Motion for Contempt is not enough to force the party to comply. You can file numerous motions in order to force the party to comply.

Often filed prior to or with a contempt motion, is a Motion for Enforcement. A Motion for Enforcement is a plea to the court to get the non-conforming party to comply with the order or to enforce the terms of the agreement. A Motion for Enforcement is almost a warning by the court prior to moving on a Motion for Contempt. A Motion for Enforcement can also be filed contemporaneously with a Motion for Contempt, depending on the severity and the style of the attorney filing the Motions. A judge who entered a final order or the judge who took over his/her docket withholds the jurisdiction to enforce the judgment previously entered. Therefore, if a party needs to move the court to enforce a judgment then they would file the motion with the court in which the final judgment was entered. Regardless of whether you file a Motion for Enforcement or Motion for Contempt, you are entitled to the same relief; monetary judgments, garnish wages, place liens on property, and suspend professional and/or driver’s licenses, etc.

Schedule A Consultation With Horton Law Group

If your spouse is not complying with a court order or you have received notice that you are in contempt of court, you need an experienced attorney to represent your needs. It is important to retain an attorney that is extremely experienced in the family laws of Florida as such matters often relate to the best interest of your child. Horton Law Group, P.A. has close to two decades of experience in Family law, including but not limited to contempt of family law orders. Call today, 561-299-0018 to see what relief you are entitled to today.

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Recently, I acquired my first home! I retained Ms. Horton to help me file Homestead for my property. I was unsure whether to put my Homestead property in my Revocable Trust – she provided me the benefits and consequences of doing so in a way that I actually understood. I trust her judgment. She was very patient and very sensitive to my needs. I look forward to working with her again in the future.

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Ms. Horton represented me in a highly contested family litigation case and two other litigation matters. She was extremely attentive to my needs and incredibly aggressive in the courtroom. Litigation went on for over 2 years and she was there for me each and every time I needed her. She was always prepared for hearings. She won most if not all of them. There were boxes and boxes of exhibits that she used at the three day trial in this matter. During trial, Ms. Horton was calm, cool and collected. She did an amazing job with the many experts in this case. She destroyed the opposing party at trial. I felt very relieved and at ease with Mr. Horton in my corner. If you need a family law attorney and/or a trial attorney for that matter – call Attorney Sommer Horton. She is the best of the best. I would recommend her to anyone who is in need of a brilliant and aggressive attorney.

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Bill M., Client

Sommer is a wonderful attorney, she’s the type of attorney that everyone wishes for, she’s dedicated, fierce, loyal to her clients and ensures that every option is explored to find the absolute best possible situation and outcome. Her attention to detail and willingness to go above and beyond is what truly separates Sommer from the rest. I’m glad I found her and would definitely recommend to anyone that needs her services.

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Stephen M., Client

Sommer and the Horton Law Group provided excellent service, demonstrating professionalism and personal attention to any of my questions regarding a recent legal dispute. Ms. Horton provided me with excellent legal advice. She took the time to explain everything clearly to me. I found her to be reliable, courteous and professional. I highly recommend her without any reservations.

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Ms. Horton represented me in Guardianship case. It lasted several years. She kept me informed, never missed a deadline and was sensitive to my needs as it came to legal fees and costs. She was worth every penny spent on legal fees. I hope I don’t ever need legal counsel in the future, but if I do, Mr. Horton is the only lawyer I will call. Ms. Horton and her legal team are top notch professionals. I highly recommend the Horton Law Group.

Deborah B., Client

Ms. Horton represented me in a highly contested family litigation case and two other litigation matters. She was extremely attentive to my needs and incredibly aggressive in the courtroom. Litigation went on for over 2 years and she was there for me each and every time I needed her. She was always prepared for hearings. She won most if not all of them. There were boxes and boxes of exhibits that she used at the three day trial in this matter. During trial, Ms. Horton was calm, cool and collected. She did an amazing job with the many experts in this case. She destroyed the opposing party at trial. I felt very relieved and at ease with Mr. Horton in my corner. If you need a family law attorney and/or a trial attorney for that matter – call Attorney Sommer Horton. She is the best of the best. I would recommend her to anyone who is in need of a brilliant and aggressive attorney.

Daria F., Client

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I came to the law group with a problem from years ago… all I can say is that Sommer is amazing! Her staff is outstanding.. Sommer is such a bulldog and fought hard for me.. I’m so lucky I made the right choice. If you have legal problems or need legal advice call the Horton Law Group. You will be glad you did.

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Very professional and reliabe
Sommer and the Horton Law Group provided excellent service, demonstrating professionalism and personal attention to any of my questions regarding a recent legal dispute.
Ms. Horton provided me with excellent legal advice. She took the time to explain everything clearly to me. I found her to be reliable, courteous and professional. I highly recommend her without any reservations.

Barbara C., Client

Let me start by saying, I have had Sommer represent me in several litigations. She has always been very dependable and honest about how she would handle my particular situations. Her dedication to my cases, even the small ones has always impressed me. Sommer is what I would describe as someone you always want on your side. She is tenacious in getting things done, on time and with as much success as she promised. I would highly recommend her for litigation cases as well as estate planning. I can only say again if you have Sommer you have one of the best to represent you.

Bill M., Client

I am completely satisfied with Ms. Sommer Horton, Esq. as my attorney, and for her law firm, the Horton Law Group, P.A. for their outstanding service and customer care. I highly recommend Ms. Horton as an attorney in Florida and her law firm. Ms. Horton and her staff are efficient and professional with understanding my case and not wasting any of my time or resources. Ms. Horton always promptly answers my calls and questions, and makes sure that I can review all work, and she helps me make timely decisions for my case. Ms. Horton and her staff are always courteous and prepared for my case in and out of court and I have been relieved by her as a trusted professional to ensure that my case is grounded in legal case law, Florida statutes, and working to come up with the best solutions for me.

Stephen W., Client

Sommer is a wonderful attorney, she’s the type of attorney that everyone wishes for, she’s dedicated, fierce, loyal to her clients and ensures that every option is explored to find the absolute best possible situation and outcome. Her attention to detail and willingness to go above and beyond is what truly separates Sommer from the rest. I’m glad I found her and would definitely recommend to anyone that needs her services.

James G., Client

Sommer Horton has served as our general corporate counsel for the past several years.  She aggressively defended us in a frivolous lawsuit filed against us and won!   She has also represented us on several other corporate matters.  She has handled all of our business needs with great success. She is professional, dedicated and has a keen attention to detail. I fully and confidently recommend Sommer Horton and the Horton Law Group, P.A. for all of your professional and business needs.

Juan C., Client

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Annette L., Client

Horton Law Group represented me better than I could have ever imagined. My needs were put first and I was treated as a friend rather than a number.   My opinions were valued and my doubts were always reassured.  My nerves were calmed and the process was always explained.   My attorney, Sommer Horton, fought hard for me.   She went above and beyond and did everything she could to ensure a great outcome.  I couldn’t have asked for a better law firm or attorney. Thanks guys!!!

Barbara C., Client

I have known Sommer Horton for years.  I recently utilized her services to draft my family estate plans.  I was blown away with her knowledge of the law.  She explained the importance of each document in a way that I understood why I needed my estate plan.  She is affordable and efficient.  In fact, she is wonderful!  Ms. Horton really does care and she will make sure you, your family and your asserts are protected.   My recommendation would be that you call her if you need legal help.  She will take good care of you.

Madi P., Client

I retained Sommer Horton from the Horton Law Group to represent me in a trust litigation lawsuit. We successfully had the successor trustees removed and me appointed to serve as the current trustee of the trust. I find Ms. Horton to be very knowledgeable with the laws. Every strategic move she made in the case, she had me approve first. She copied me on all communications with the other parties counsel so I always knew what was happening in my case. I am extremely satisfied with her work and I am extremely satisfied with all of her staff. She has a great team. They were always very nice and got me what I wanted in a timely manner. We are in the final stages of litigation and I am 100% satisfied with how she got the case to this point. I would definitely hire Attorney Sommer Horton again should I ever need an attorney again. I found her rates to be fair for the work she did for me. She is worth it.

Levance "Lee" B., Client

Ms. Horton and her entire team at Horton Law Group have been a life saver while going through an extremely contentious and difficult divorce. Ms Horton has fought for my children and me at every step. She is straightforward, diligent, realistic and someone you can trust. Thank you Sommer, Teresa, and the whole team!

Audrey M., Client

Over the past decade, Sommer Horton and her team at the Horton Law Group have treated me like family and have helped me through multiple legal matters. The entire team has always communicated quickly and efficiently while taking the time to help me thoroughly understand even the most complex legal jargon. They’ve consistently shown empathy and have always made time for me and my family through the process. Sommer Horton is Simply the Best. THANK YOU HORTON LAW GROUP!

Rick R., Client

It is not often that I take the time to compliment a Professional that I felt it was their job to do well to begin with. However, it was a pleasant surprise to deal with someone who went far beyond my expectations and performed as well as you in preparing my Estate Planning. I also appreciate that your billing was as reasonable as it was. Most people expect that “sticker shock” when dealing with Lawyers and Accountants. I found that your knowledge of Finances made it unnecessary for me to incur any further expense for accounting.
Thanks for the great job that you and your staff did.

Ralph B., Client

Serving as a Successor Trustee with several litigation cases pending, having an attorney working diligently for your client is of utmost importance. Sommer Horton was that attorney. Regardless of the nature of the situation, Sommer was there to support and advise not only my client, but myself as well. She and her team worked meticulously to delve into the issues so that our client’s interest was best represented. Her efforts were rewarded with favorable outcomes for our client, that is what we call a win, win. Sommer Horton and the Horton Law Group, P.A. were amazing, I highly recommend them.

Marline L., Client

I have worked with Sommer from Horton law group on several occasions over the past 7 years. She strikes the right balance between aggressive and realistic. Sommer is knowledgeable, confident and unflappable. The perfect team to walk with you through difficult circumstances.

Margarita K, Client
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