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New Jersey Family Law: Enforcement of Orders, Judgments, and Settlement Agreements

By: Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.

New Jersey Courts adhere to a strict enforcement policy for their orders and judgments. The most common remedy for a party seeking to enforce an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement is to file a Notice of Motion pursuant to Rule 5:3-7, in conjunction with Rule 1:10-3 which allows a litigant to “seek relief by application in the action” and seek an allowance for counsel fees to be paid by the non-compliant party.

Upon a finding that a party has violated the terms of an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement relating to parenting time or custody, the Court may order any of the following remedies:

  1. Compensatory time with the child(ren);
  2. Economic sanctions;
  3. Modification of transportation arrangements;
  4. Pick-up and return of the child(ren) in a public place;
  5. Counseling for the child(ren) or parents or any of them at the expense of the parent in violation of the order;
  6. Temporary or permanent modification of the custodial arrangement;
  7. Participation by the parent in an approved community service program;
  8. Incarceration, with or without work release;
  9. Issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order; and
  10. Any other appropriate equitable remedy.

Upon a finding that a party has violated the terms of an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement relating to child support or alimony, the Court may order any of the following remedies:

  1. Fixing the amount of arrearages and entering a judgment upon which interest accrues;
  2. Requiring payment of arrearages on a periodic basis;
  3. Suspension of an occupational license or driver’s license;
  4. Economic sanctions;
  5. Participation by the party in an approved community service program;
  6. Incarceration, with or without work release;
  7. Issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order; and
  8. Any other appropriate equitable remedy.

Significantly, the Rules of Court provide the Judge with discretion to make an allowance of attorney fees to be paid by any party to the action “on any claim for divorce, dissolution of civil union, termination of domestic relationship, nullity, support, alimony, custody, parenting time, equitable distribution, separate maintenance, enforcement of agreements between spouses, domestic partners, or civil union partners and claims relating to family type matters.” Additionally, the Court has the statutory authority to award attorney fees to a party who has incurred fees in any action to enforce and collect child support ordered or, in some instances, when the financial circumstances of the parties make the award reasonable and just.

It is important to note that an award of attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party, although permitted in family actions, is by no means guaranteed. Due to the substantial attorney fees and costs that may be incurred, an application to enforce an order, judgment, or agreement may be cost prohibitive. Therefore, it is important to determine whether the cost of seeking enforcement outweighs the benefit that would be derived. Also, it is ordinarily prudent to first seek to resolve the issue amicably with the violating party or his or her attorney – if such an attempt is unsuccessful, the party seeking enforcement may wish to seek judicial intervention.

If you have any questions in regards to your Marital Settlement Agreement, alimony, child support, or family law, you may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.  /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  /  2016  /  All Rights Reserved

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New Jersey Family Law: Enforcement of Orders, Judgments, and Settlement Agreements

New Jersey Family Law: Enforcement of Orders, Judgments, and Settlement Agreements

By: Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.

New Jersey Courts adhere to a strict enforcement policy for their orders and judgments. The most common remedy for a party seeking to enforce an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement is to file a Notice of Motion pursuant to Rule 5:3-7, in conjunction with Rule 1:10-3 which allows a litigant to “seek relief by application in the action” and seek an allowance for counsel fees to be paid by the non-compliant party.

Upon a finding that a party has violated the terms of an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement relating to parenting time or custody, the Court may order any of the following remedies:

  1. Compensatory time with the child(ren);
  2. Economic sanctions;
  3. Modification of transportation arrangements;
  4. Pick-up and return of the child(ren) in a public place;
  5. Counseling for the child(ren) or parents or any of them at the expense of the parent in violation of the order;
  6. Temporary or permanent modification of the custodial arrangement;
  7. Participation by the parent in an approved community service program;
  8. Incarceration, with or without work release;
  9. Issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order; and
  10. Any other appropriate equitable remedy.

Upon a finding that a party has violated the terms of an order, judgment, or Marital Settlement Agreement relating to child support or alimony, the Court may order any of the following remedies:

  1. Fixing the amount of arrearages and entering a judgment upon which interest accrues;
  2. Requiring payment of arrearages on a periodic basis;
  3. Suspension of an occupational license or driver’s license;
  4. Economic sanctions;
  5. Participation by the party in an approved community service program;
  6. Incarceration, with or without work release;
  7. Issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order; and
  8. Any other appropriate equitable remedy.

Significantly, the Rules of Court provide the Judge with discretion to make an allowance of attorney fees to be paid by any party to the action “on any claim for divorce, dissolution of civil union, termination of domestic relationship, nullity, support, alimony, custody, parenting time, equitable distribution, separate maintenance, enforcement of agreements between spouses, domestic partners, or civil union partners and claims relating to family type matters.” Additionally, the Court has the statutory authority to award attorney fees to a party who has incurred fees in any action to enforce and collect child support ordered or, in some instances, when the financial circumstances of the parties make the award reasonable and just.

It is important to note that an award of attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party, although permitted in family actions, is by no means guaranteed. Due to the substantial attorney fees and costs that may be incurred, an application to enforce an order, judgment, or agreement may be cost prohibitive. Therefore, it is important to determine whether the cost of seeking enforcement outweighs the benefit that would be derived. Also, it is ordinarily prudent to first seek to resolve the issue amicably with the violating party or his or her attorney – if such an attempt is unsuccessful, the party seeking enforcement may wish to seek judicial intervention.

If you have any questions in regards to your Marital Settlement Agreement, alimony, child support, or family law, you may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.

Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.  /  Timothy J. Little, P.C.  /  2016  /  All Rights Reserved

Leave a reply

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