There are two basic documents that can be used to resolve the legal issues of divorce, separation, custody issues and cash flow issues: Separation agreements and court orders.
The former is a contract between the parties. The latter is a decree by a judge.
A party can enforce a separation agreement by filing a breach of contract lawsuit.
A party enforces a court order by asking the court to hold the non-compliant party in contempt.
A contempt action is appropriate when one party is not doing what the court ordered them to do (or is doing something that the court ordered them not to do).
Contempt actions have become increasingly common. Parties that cannot get along frequently file contempt actions against each other as a continuation of the fighting that led to their divorce or custody battle.
In fact, so many contempt actions have been filed in the last few years that the Wake County family courts have been swamped.
In response, the Wake County family court has instituted a mandatory mediation program for all contempt actions.
Now, every time someone files a contempt action against the other parent or their former spouse, both parties will have to attend mediation in the courthouse without attorneys. This mediation takes place at their first court date for the contempt action.
This program is further evidence that the courts lack the resources to serve as the primary dispute resolution option for family law matters.
It also shows that even the courts value and appreciate non-court processes for resolving family law disputes.
Randolph (Tré) Morgan III is an experienced family law attorney accepting cases in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, Smithfield, Wake Forest, RTP, Durham, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs and surrounding areas. He focuses his practice in divorce, child custody, alimony, child support, equitable distribution, property division, paternity, guardianship and other family related matters.