What Is A Motion To Enforce A Court Order Or An Order To Show Cause?

Once a court order has been made, the parties are obligated to comply with this order, but sometimes they fail to do so. The court has the ability to enforce its own orders. The way that a party asks a court to enforce its order is through a particular type of motion, called an Order to Show Cause. You are asking the court to order a party to show up at a particular date, and time and “show cause” why they should not be held in contempt of court, and sanctioned for their failure to comply with court orders. The way an order to show cause is initiated, is by filing a motion that has to be accompanied by an affidavit explaining to the court how the other side failed to comply with the court’s orders. A proposed order is also submitted with the motion that the court will sign ordering the other side to show up at a hearing date at a particular place and time.

Once that order is issued, then the motion, affidavit, and the order are then served on the other side, and the hearing is scheduled. Once they receive the motion and the order from the court, they are obligated to appear, and defend themselves. At the order to show cause hearing, if the court finds the other party to be non-compliant with the court’s orders, the courts can hold the non-compliant party in contempt, and issue sanctions against them. Those sanctions can include such things as a money judgement against the non-compliant party if they fail to pay the money that they were supposedly ordered to pay. Other sanctions can include such things as community service, revoking of a driver’s license, ordering specific steps towards compliance to be made, and even as a last resort, possible jail time.

What Issues Can Be Addressed In A Motion To Enforce A Court Order?

Any order that the court has made can be addressed in an order to show cause. If there is a court order and a party is non-compliant with those orders, it can be addressed in an order to show cause.

What Needs To Be Proven In A Motion For An Order To Show Cause?

In order for the court to find someone in contempt, three things must be proven.

  1. The party in question knew what was required by the court order.
  2. The party had the ability to comply with that order.
  3. The party willfully and knowingly failed to comply with that order.

Once the moving party has alleged those three facts, and supported it with an affidavit, the burden of proof shifts to the non-compliant party to present evidence regarding those three elements. They are then obligated to defend themselves with respect to whether they knew what was required, and had the ability to comply willfully, and knowingly failed to comply.

How Does Failure To Pay Child Support Complicate The Process of Enforcing A Court Order?

If the Utah Office of Recovery Services is involved, they can file an order to show cause on child support issues, but so can the child support recipient. Either one can file an order to show cause. Other than that, there is no real difference.

What Is The Purpose Of Contempt Proceedings Or An Order To Show Cause?

The purpose of contempt proceedings or an order to show cause is not to punish. The purpose is to bring the non-compliant party into compliance. It may seem like a fine distinction to a layperson, but to the court it is an important distinction. This is because it affects what remedies the court will order, and what sanctions. Sometimes a court will find a party is non-compliant, or in contempt, but not issue any sanctions at the first court hearing. Instead, they will give the non-compliant party an opportunity to “purge” that contempt, or in other words, to come into compliance before sanctions are issued.

So what a court will often do, is find that a party is in contempt, and then set a sanctions review hearing a month or two later, and give the non-compliant party an opportunity to come into compliance within that time. If the party comes into compliance, then the court may order no other sanctions than to pay the attorney fees of the moving party. However, if at the sanctions review, the non-compliant party still is not compliant, then the courts will likely sanction the non-compliant party, not to punish them, but to provide an incentive for them to come into compliance.

For more information on Order To Show Cause In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 616-3301 today.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children