What remedy is available if a final child support order is violated?

There are various approaches to bring violations of an order to the attention of the court. The most harsh remedy for violation of a final order of the court would be technically a contempt action, which is a separate lawsuit, involving filing fees, new service upon the parent in violation of the order, etc. Because contempt actions involve a quasi-criminal situation, meaning that if the person sued is found in contempt of a civil order, they risk suffering incarceration and fines, and the person sued may choose to remain silent. Another approach to inform the court that child support is unpaid would be through a Motion to Determine Arrearage. This is also a new action requiring filing fees and new service on the Respondent. Additionally, attorneys’ fees may be sought, along with other more creative remedies, which could be tailored to the circumstances of your case. Finally, since jail is not a potential sanction under this option, the person sued may NOT remain silent. In other words, the court can compel answers to questions asked at the hearing.

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