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Enforcing A Court Order

A directive requiring performance of a specific act is known as a court order. Successful enforcement of a court order is dependent upon the specificity of the order and whether the failure to comply is clear. Consider this process when trying to enforce a court order:

  • Review the court order and try to determine whether the order clearly directs performances of a specific act. Decide whether you can reasonably establish that non-compliance has occurred by comparing the language of the court order with the facts of your case.

  • Obtain blank forms from the clerk of court and draft a motion requesting compliance. Include the specific act that was ordered by the court in your motion, and specify those portions of the court order which require enforcement. Be sure to include a statement of facts that support your claim.

  • File your motion with the clerk of court. Make arrangements for your motion to be served on the opposing party and get a court date form the clerk. Determine what facts will be needed in order to convince the judge that action is required. Gather your witnesses and ask the clerk to help in obtaining subpoenas and have them served by the county sheriff.

  • Show up at your court hearing early/on time and bring any physical evidence needed to establish your case. Also plan to question any witnesses to establish your claim of non-compliance.

While every state has its own procedural rules and they can vary, all jurisdictions require you to file a formal motion with the court alleging non-compliance. Most states will refer to this as a Motion for Order to show cause, and it asks the court to issue an order directing the offending party to “show cause” why he/she should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply.