Los Angeles Order Enforcement Attorney

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At Fernandez & Karney, our Los Angeles order enforcement attorneys will work with you to build a case that clearly and completely conveys your case to the court and ensures your rights are protected under California law. Our attorneys are:

  • Successful in presenting and defending enforcement of court orders
  • Aggressive negotiators and litigators determined to secure the assistance you need
  • Responsive communicators who respond to your emails and calls promptly, keeping you informed on the progress in your case

Contact the Los Angeles office of Fernandez & Karney today and schedule a confidential consultation. Whether you need representation or defense in order enforcement, it is best to handle the matter early.

After a family law proceeding, you expect to receive the benefits and property ordered on your behalf by the court. You have a right to expect your ex-spouse or co-parent to follow the court’s orders as these are legally binding judgments and have consequences when willfully disobeyed or ignored.  

If the other party to your court orders is not complying with any conditions of your divorce, child custody, or child support order, you are entitled to enforce those benefits through court action. This process may include sanctions, a modification, or even contempt of court to bring the other party into compliance.  

How Our Los Angeles Order Enforcement Attorneys Can Help

Disputes commonly occur during and after family law cases. This is due in part to the unique nature of families. Families are constantly growing and changing, and no final decree can foresee a family’s future.

Regardless of why your family law order needs to be enforced, the experienced Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney are ready to fight for you. We will work tirelessly advocating on your behalf in any of the following matters and more:

Untimely or Non-payment of Spousal Support

If you are behind in or unable to meet spousal support obligations, you may qualify for a modification of support payments. If you are not receiving full or timely spousal support payments, there are steps to take varying in severity. An ex-spouse may be held in contempt of court for non-payment or reported to a public agency for assistance in collection;

Child Support Collection and Enforcement

Past due child support payments are a serious matter and can cause a suspension of a driver’s license or a court sanction. It is imperative to request a modification from the court if you cannot meet your obligation for any reason. If you are owed child support, there are several means of collection to discuss with your Los Angeles child support attorney at Fernandez & Karney  

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody can be a heated and contentious issue between parents. Rather than face court-imposed schedules, seek immediate help for parenting time problems, withheld visitation, lack of cooperation, or an intended relocation. If you take matters into your own hands, your actions could backfire, and you could lose time with your children

Asset and Real Property Division

When a spouse does not comply with property division orders, the court can impose sanctions as well as attorney fees, costs, and additional expenses

Payment of Debt and Legal Fees

As with assets, there are actions the court can take to when a spouse refuses to pay debts and legal fees as ordered.   

If you need assistance enforcing any of the above orders or another family law case, reach out to Fernandez & Karney in Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles order enforcement lawyers can provide practical advice regarding order enforcement and its effect on your family and future. 

Enforcement of Court Orders: The Basics

California courts generally have broad discretion when enforcing court orders. However, there are legal limits on this discretion.  

For instance, child support payments are suspended for any parent who is incarcerated or institutionalized for more than ninety consecutive days. Courts are also likely to hold off on enforcing an order in a case with a pending appeal. Exceptions apply to court orders regarding the payment of money or court costs. 

While Section 291 of the California Family Code states that “A money judgment or judgment for possession or sale of property … including a judgment for child, family, or spousal support, is enforceable until paid in full or otherwise satisfied,” some property may be exempt from money judgment enforcement even with the help of local child support services, the Internal Revenue Service, and the California Franchise Tax Board.

Collecting Child Support

When a child support order is issued, it is typically enforced by wage assignment through the paying spouse’s employer.  Local child support agencies initiate wage assignments upon request of the court or by a recipient parent through the county clerk.

When a recipient parent requests a wage assignment, they must acquire and file two forms with the county clerk.  These are: Form FL -340  (Findings and Order After Hearing) and Form FL-195  (Income Withholding for Support).  The wage assignment is then processed and served on the employer, who has ten days to start withholding child support per the court’s order.  

Consequences Of Non-Payment: Some Forms Of Enforcement

The California Department of Child Support Services can, via its local agency, report any missed child support payment to the credit reporting bureaus. Further, anyone who owes $2,500 or more in child support payments can be denied passport issuance or renewal by the US Department of State until all the arrears (the past due payments) are paid.

Tax refunds, unemployment benefits, disability insurance, and worker’s compensation payments can all be intercepted and garnished to satisfy unpaid child support. The Franchise Tax Board can seize bank accounts, vacant land, and personal property. The local child support agency can even request that professional licenses or a state driver’s license be suspended.

Although upcoming child support payments can be modified upon proof of a significant change of circumstances, child support orders and arrears are not subject to modification.

Property Exempt From Money Judgment Enforcement

The Enforcement of Judgments Law, found in Title 9 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, regulates how courts proceed in carrying out their orders.  This law exempts some property from enforcement of money judgments.  Title 9 expressly states: “The exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute apply to a judgment for child, family, or spousal support.”

The court has discretion when making a ruling on whether to apply an exemption or to satisfy a judgment by dipping into exempt property. When deciding, the court must balance the debtor’s needs with the needs of the creditor and “all the other relevant circumstances.” This includes taking all of the debtor’s property into account, as well as the property of their spouse and dependents.

The exemptions listed under this title apply exclusively to natural persons. These exemptions are elective. By electing one group of exemptions under the statute, the debtor forgoes other types of exemptions meaning the available options are mutually exclusive. 

For example, by choosing any exemptions under Section 703.140(b) of the Judgment Enforcement Law, the debtor gives up exemptions available under any other section of this law.

The group of elections under Section 703.140(b) includes the following:

  • Interest in real estate or personal property used as a residence by the debtor or his dependent, not to exceed twenty-five thousand five hundred seventy-five dollars ($25,575)
  • Interest in motor vehicles, not to exceed five thousand one hundred dollars ($5,100)
  • Interest in one item of movable property, such as household furnishings, apparel, or a musical instrument, limited to a maximum of six hundred fifty dollars ($650)
  • Interest in tools of a trade, including professional books, not to exceed seven thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars ($7,625)
  • Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or their dependent
  • The right to receive social security benefits, public assistance, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, disability, alimony, pension, or annuity-note that some of these may be limited “to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor.”

The Judicial Council of California adjusts the dollar limits on exemptions from enforcement every three years. The adjustment is based on the consumer price index published by the Division of Labor Statistics at the Department of Industrial Relations. The legislature can also vote to increase the limits on exemptions.

The limits listed here were effective as of April 1, 2013: the full list of the 2013 dollar amounts of exemptions from enforcement under Sections 703.140(b) can be found on the California Courts website. The website also cites limits on exemptions under other Sections of the California Civil Code. A more extensive list of possible exemptions is also provided on the California Courts website, Form EJ-155.

An exemption must be claimed within ten days of the notice of levy. The creditor can oppose a claim. Ultimately, the court decides whether to grant an exemption from enforcement of a judgment or order.

Speak With a Los Angeles Order Enforcement Lawyer Today

At Fernandez & Karney, we pride ourselves on providing complete and detailed information on topics that matter to you.  If you need further assistance with order enforcement or another family law issue, please call us or schedule a complimentary consultation today!