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Enforcement of Colorado Court Orders & Contempt


Summary:  A remedial contempt action is always very helpful to obtain the enforcement of court orders. Make sure that your action is plead correctly, so that you may get your attorney fees paid by the contemnor. (Do it wrong and you have to pay your own attorney fees.)


Enforcement of Court Orders (They Have to Be Followed)

Colorado Court orders can be enforced by either remedial or punitive contempt proceedings.

Generally, any court or order, whether it be given at a status conference, a temporary orders hearing, or a permanent orders hearing, can be dealt with through a contempt proceeding.

Court orders in a family law case which may be addressed via a contempt action include the failure to pay child support, maintenance (alimony), the payment of marital debts or other obligations, and the failure to follow parenting time orders.

Contempt can also be brought for failure to disclose, the hiding of money or other property.

In most cases, a contempt action is the best way to petition the court for help when one of the parties refuses to follow a court order. C.R.C.P. 107. (Sometimes, just use a Rule 70 action.)

Remedial Contempt.

Remedial contempt is probably the best of the two contempt actions. If the contemnor is found to be in violation of a court order, he or she can be ordered to pay attorney fees and can also be ordered to jail until he or she complies with the court order. I find that the judges are very willing to impose an order that the contemnor must pay the other party’s attorney fees in a remedial contempt action. However, the judge must find a present ability to comply with the order.

Under the most recent revision of the court rules, damages may not be ordered by the judge (other than the payment of attorney fees.)

Make sure that any remedial contempt action that you file includes requests for both your attorney fees and the possibility of jail time for the contemnor.

Punitive Contempt

Punitive contempt is similar to remedial contempt, except that attorney fees cannot be awarded unless they may be awarded by prior agreement between the parties. See In re Marriage of Sanchez-Vigil and Rael, (Colo.App. 2006). The only remedy is a jail sentence.

GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
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