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Family Law: Enforcement of Parenting Time Orders and Financial Judgments

In family law, the journey doesn’t end with the final judgment; enforcing that judgment is often the next critical step. Whether it’s ensuring parenting time is respected or securing financial judgments, the path to enforcement is paved with specific legal statutes and rules. Based on the insights from the 2023 advanced family law CLE presentation, we delve into the mechanisms that uphold the power of court orders in Arizona.

Enforcing Parenting Time Orders

Parenting time violations can deeply affect the child-parent relationship. Rule 91 and Rule 91.5 come into play when a parent seeks to enforce a parenting time order. These rules outline the process for a post-judgment petition, including the potential issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of the child in extreme cases, such as imminent danger or risk of the child being taken out of state.

ARS 25-1061 is particularly significant when there’s a concern for the child’s safety or potential removal from Arizona. However, obtaining a warrant to take physical custody under this statute requires solid evidence supporting the court’s findings. The law typically sees this as a last resort, used only when the child’s well-being is at immediate risk.

Addressing Financial Judgments

Financial enforcement is another common post-judgment issue. To garnish wages, one might use a writ of garnishment served on the employer based on ARS 12-1598 and ARS 33-1131. If you’re looking to attach a lien to property, recording the judgment with the county recorder where the property exists is the first step. In certain instances, the sheriff’s department may also be engaged to seize property through specific writs of execution.

For retirement funds, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) might be necessary. This legal tool can be used to enforce a judgment against defined compensation and contribution plans but requires the recipient to be a spouse, former spouse, or child of the plan participant.

Avoiding Contempt and Sanctions

It’s paramount to comply with court orders to avoid sanctions for noncompliance, as per Rule 92, or arrest warrants for child support under Rule 94. If someone knowingly engages in behavior that disrespects the court’s authority or interrupts proceedings, it could be classified as a misdemeanor under ARS 13-2810.

Ensuring compliance with court orders in family law requires a thorough understanding of the statutes and rules that govern enforcement actions. From taking physical custody of a child to garnishing wages for financial judgments, the laws are structured to protect the rights and well-being of all parties involved.

For those navigating these legal waters, it’s crucial to seek guidance from experienced family law professionals. At our firm, we harness our knowledge and the valuable resources from CLE presentations to empower our clients through the enforcement process.

Remember, while Arizona does not imprison individuals for debt failure, civil contempt can carry its own set of consequences, emphasizing the importance of adhering to court orders and seeking legal assistance when enforcement issues arise.

Are you struggling with enforcing a legal order? Contact us for expert assistance and ensure your court-ordered rights are protected and enforced.




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