Hello, I am Nick Slinko of the Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be providing you with an overview on the topic of what happens when a party breaches a Family Court Order.
In family law cases, parties are often subject to Court Orders which may obligate them to do or restrict them from doing certain things.
Provisions of court orders may, for example, require parties to abide by a parenting regime, produce disclosure or other information, pay child and/or spousal support, contribute to the children’s s.7 expenses, transfer property, make equalization or other payments, refrain from harassing the other party and many other provisions.
It is incumbent on both parties to adhere to the terms and provisions contained in a Court Order. The provisions are not suggestions or proposals but rather legal obligations one party owes to the other.
Unfortunately, all too often parties breach provisions of orders by failing to do what is required or doing those things they have been restrained from doing.
The question arises however as to what remedies are available in the event a party breaches a provision of the court order.
The appropriate remedy will largely depend on the nature of the provision that was breached.
In the case of a breach of support orders not already being enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), whether it be child support, spousal support or contribution to the children’s s.7 expenses, the support recipient may File a Support Deduction order directing the FRO to commence enforcement of the support provisions of the order. The FRO will not only enforce the support order on a go forward basis but will also collect the arrears that he accrued as a result to the payor’s breach of the Order.
In the case of a breach of provisions for the payment of money other than support, the payment provision can be enforced by obtaining a writ of seizure and sale against the person’s property, garnishment proceedings and other methods.
In the case of breaches of provisions other than payment of money, the terms of the Order may be enforced by a contempt motion made in the case in which the order was made, even if another penalty is available.
For a finding of contempt to be available, the following is necessary:
- The order breached must state clearly and unequivocally what must be done or not done;
- The party who breached the order must have done so deliberately and willfully; and
- The evidence must show contempt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Minor or inadvertent breaches of an order are not considered contempt.
If the court finds a person in contempt of the court, it may order that the person,
- be imprisoned for a period of time
- pay a fine in any amount that is appropriate;
- pay an amount to a party as a penalty;
- do anything else that the court decides is appropriate;
- not do what the court forbids;
- pay costs in an amount decided by the court; and
- obey any other order.
If you are looking for recourse as the result of your former spouse having breached the terms of a Court Order, please contact us to set up a free initial in-office consultation at (905) 581-7222, or visit our website.
For the Feldstein Family Law Group, I’m Nick Slinko.