Aurora Enforcing Support Orders
As many litigants in child support or alimony (maintenance) cases know, getting the proper amount of monthly support established in often times only half the battle. After going through the time and expense of obtaining a support order, the very last thing you want to deal with is having to go back to court to enforce that order. Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a situation where court ordered child or spousal support payments are not being made, thereby subjecting your family to potential financial uncertainty. The Aurora child support attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. know what it’s like to find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to collecting what is owed for the support of you or your children. We have the knowledge and experience to thoroughly assess your case and to let you know what your options are for enforcing support orders in Aurora. Having decades of experience litigating child support and maintenance enforcement issues, out attorneys are able to determine the best court of action for enforcing your orders and collecting unpaid arrears.Understanding Support Enforcement in Aurora
Colorado family law judges take the duty to pay child support and spousal support very seriously. When one party owes back support payments to another, there are an array of available statutory remedies. In considering any of these remedies, our attorneys always look at which option is most likely to ensure payment occurs, mapped up with the costs to get there. Various remedies for enforcing support orders and collecting on arrears are as follows:
- Issuance of an Income Withholding Order (wage assignment) against the obligor’s wages
- Filing a Verified Entry of Support Judgment, which registers the amounts due and owing as an enforceable judgment
- Contempt of Court, whether remedial or punitive in nature
Each avenue for relief comes with its own procedures and costs or benefits.
When the obligor fails to pay child support or alimony, or is frequently late, the recipient is generally able to issue an Income Withholding Order, which forces the employer to take the support directly out of the obligor’s pay. This can be an effective remedy for enforcing support orders as to future payments, as well as potentially dealing with arrears. However, this is only an effective option when the obligor has a job. In cases of self employment or unemployment this avenue may not be worthwhile pursuing. When an IWO is issued, the recipient is paid when the obligor is paid. In instances where the obligor is paid weekly, bi-monthly, etc., the payments will be correlated with how many pay checks are received each year. As such, some months payments may be a little short, while in other months with more pay dates the recipient may receive more than the stated monthly support amount.
When dealing with arrears, C.R.S. 14-10-122 states that each Colorado alimony or child support payment not paid becomes a monetary judgment due and owing. Additionally, statute indicates that interest automatically starts accruing at the rate of 12% per year, compounded monthly, for child support and 8% per year, compounded annually, for alimony. However, support recipients must avail themselves of this provision via the filing of a Verified Entry of Support Judgment. Filing of the Entry also entails calculating interest owed, which becomes part of the judgment. Once the entry is filed, it becomes an enforceable judgment without having to be approved by a judge. From there, wages can be garnished to collect on the back support, potentially up to 65% of the disposable income per pay check. Additionally, there is opportunity to garnish property, such as bank or other financial accounts, as well as issue liens on real property. This remedy may be effective in instances in which the obligor is employed or has assets to attach. Serving people in Aurora and beyond, the child support lawyers at Plog & Stein have handled support enforcement cases in which the original amount owed may double, or more, due to accrued interest.
The final significant enforcement tool is the filing of a motion for Contempt of Court pursuant to C.R.C.P. Rule 107. Once the motion is filed, the court will issue a citation and order, which along with the motion must be personally served on the obligor. Contempt can be an effective tool in that the consequences for being in violation of court orders can be very severe, including up to a 180 day jail, or a fine. When faced with jail, people often times find a way to come up with funds, whether in whole or in part. Sometimes courts are also willing to maintain ongoing review of compliance for several months after resolution of the underlying motion. With the filing of a motion for remedial contempt sanctions, attorney fees can also be requested. Unless the point is to send a message to the obligor, contempt should be considered a last resort, as the process can take some time, the burdens of proof are high, and the costs can be more significant (though potentially reimbursable). Enforcing compliance to a payment schedule is the primary goal for these proceedings, though contempt of court can also be purely punitive in nature.
There are many ways to go about enforcing child support and spousal orders in Aurora and surrounding Denver metro areas. The most important thing for our clients to understand is that they have options. Talk to a trusted child support attorney in Aurora about your individual situation and see what works best for you and your family when it comes time to enforce your support order.Pursuing Child Support Back Pay for Families in Aurora
Enforcement proceedings are taken very seriously by most family court judges, including those serving Aurora in the Arapahoe and Adams District Courts. If you need assistance collecting back support or enforcing your orders, the Aurora child support lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. are adept at helping our clients pursue what they are entitled to under the law. Call us at 303-781-0322 or contact us online to discuss the best strategy to enforce your child support orders as soon as possible.