Columbia Modifications & Contempt Lawyer
Court orders regarding child custody, child support and alimony can last for years. While these orders are in effect, changes can occur to the needs or circumstances of any interested party so that the current order in place doesn’t make sense anymore. Either party can at any time file a motion with the court to modify an order. They’ll have to prove the reasons that justify a modification, and if another party opposes the change, the judge might have to hold a contested hearing in court before deciding whether to modify the order or not.
The Columbia modification & contempt lawyers at Weinberg & Schwartz, L.L.C., have vast years of experience litigating modification motions in the Howard County courts. If you are seeking a change, we can work with you and your former spouse to modify the orders in a way that continues to meet both parties’ needs. When an agreement can’t be reached, you’ll find our family law attorneys to be effective advocates in the courtroom, whether you are the party filing the motion or the one opposing the change. Likewise, our team assists in contempt proceedings and other means of enforcement when a party is allegedly failing to pay alimony or child support or abide by the terms of the child custody arrangement.
Modification of Family Law Court Orders
After the parties have reached an agreement or the court has entered an order, a party has the right to file for a modification in the future based on a material change in circumstances. Modifications can be made to alimony, child support, child custody and visitation, and protective and peace orders.
The court will only grant a modification if the judge decides there has been a material change in circumstances that would justify modifying the court order. The judge will also consider the needs of the parties and how a change might impact any minor children in the family. In child-related cases, the court will only grant a modification if convinced the requested change would be in the child’s or children’s best interests.
Some of the changed circumstances that might justify a modification include:
- The income of a parent paying or receiving alimony or support has significantly increased or decreased
- A party paying support has lost a job
- A child has developed extraordinary medical or educational expenses
- A custodial parent wishes to relocate out of state with the child
Our divorce modification lawyers will help you approach your ex-spouse with a proposed modification to work out an alternative arrangement. If collaborating on a modification is not an option, we’ll build a solid case and argue skillfully in court for or against a proposed modification, according to your needs.
Contempt and Enforcement of Orders for Child Custody, Child Support and Alimony
If a party is refusing to comply with the child custody schedule or is not paying alimony or child support on time or in full, it might be necessary to go to court for help enforcing the court order. Maryland courts have broad powers to enforce family court orders and many tools at their disposal. For instance, for a party who is not paying alimony or support, the court could:
- Garnish the payor’s wages
- Intercept their income tax refund
- Put a lien on their personal property
- Suspend their driver’s license, hunting or fishing license, or a business or professional license
For parents who aren’t getting their allotted custody time, the court could order make-up custody or visitation or even change the way custody is shared in the future.
Another powerful tool for enforcement of court orders is contempt of court. Contempt can be classified as either civil or criminal. Civil contempt proceedings are not meant to punish the individual; instead, they are a means to coerce the person to comply with court orders rather than face sanctions from the court. Once the party complies, the sanctions will be lifted. Criminal contempt, on the other hand, is meant to punish an individual for their noncompliance with court orders. The individual could be fined or even jailed and made to serve their sentence regardless of whether they promise to comply with the order or not.
Contempt proceedings are serious business. Weinberg & Schwartz, L.L.C., provides assertive representation based on a thorough understanding of applicable law and years of courtroom experience to represent your interests. If you need help getting family law orders enforced, or if you feel you are being unfairly targeted for punishment, contact our Columbia law office today.
Help With Post-Divorce Modifications & Contempt Proceedings
For help with modifications and contempt proceedings related to child custody, child support and alimony in Maryland divorce orders, call Weinberg & Schwartz, L.L.C., in Columbia at 410-997-0203 to discuss an effective strategy with our skilled and dedicated Howard County family law attorneys. We represent clients throughout Maryland, but especially Howard County communities such as Columbia, Ellicott City, Fulton, Maple Lawn and Clarksville.