My Ex Won’t Abide by a Lawful Judgment… Now What?

08
Apr
2015

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I recently posted about the process to change an existing Louisiana custody and/or child support judgment.  Another post-judgment issue may be that the Louisiana judgment that you have is exactly what you need…BUT the opposing party knowingly refuses to adhere to it.  If the opposing party refuses to abide by a provision or provisions in your existing judgment, you may have an action against him or her for constructive contempt of court.

One of the definitions of constructive contempt of court is “Wilful disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, mandate, writ, or process of the court.” [La. C.C.P. Art 224(2)].  To prevail, you must show that the opposing party knew of the judgment and “willfully” refused to abide by it.  The court system is not set up to continually monitor each case after a judgment to determine if the judgment is being followed.  You, as a party to the action, must inform the court of the other party’s willful disobedience of a lawful judgment by filing a “Motion for Constructive Contempt.”  If a person is found to be in constructive contempt of court for a willful violation of a lawful judgment, they may face several different penalties, including the payment of your attorney’s fees and costs for bringing the Motion for Constructive Contempt  [La. R.S. 13:4611].  Finally, if a party demonstrates a pattern of willful and intentional violations of a lawful judgment, without good cause, that may constitute a “material change in circumstance” requires to modify an existing custody or visitation judgment [La. R.S. 13:14611(4)(f)].

As always, the facts of each case determine what options you may have and how successful you are likely to be.  That is why it is of the utmost importance that you contact an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process.