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To speak to one our attorneys regarding contempt, the review and enforcement of your agreement or order, or regarding your rights and defenses in relation to a contempt, contract, or order claim brought against you, call us today at 704-412-1442.
To speak with one of our Charlotte attorneys regarding contempt of court, call us today at 704-412-1442.
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, © Copyright 2018.
Our attorneys are experienced and prepared to help with all aspects of enforcing agreements, including: assessing the validity of documents; identifying potential claims; filing suit to enforce or bring contempt actions on your behalf; requesting damages on your behalf; negotiating a settlement on your behalf; litigating your claim at trial; or defending you against a contract or contempt claim. We can help.
People enter into agreements for many different different reasons, including: to
lay out employment terms, to describe the terms of a service contract, or to dictate the terms of an ongoing or ending relationship. There are numerous types of agreements commonly used in the realm of family law, including prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and separation agreements, which may include and govern many other matters including child custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. Agreements between parties outside the realm of family law are also enforceable contracts and may lead to contract disputes. Prior to attempting to enforce an agreement, it is important to review NC law to ensure that the document involved is valid in regards to the content included, the circumstances surrounding the creation of the document, and the manner in which the document was executed.
A valid agreement in the state of North Carolina is an enforceable contract and there are actions available to help innocent parties deal with non-complying parties. Agreements that have not been incorporated into a court order are typically governed by the contract laws of North Carolina and the remedies available therein. The most common course of action involves filing a "breach of contract" claim against the non-complying party, and requesting an order of "specific performance," and/or potential "monetary damages."
Specific performance is an equitable remedy and may be ordered by a court when no other remedy, such as monetary damages, will adequately reimburse the other party. A specific performance ruling essentially orders the non-compliant party to adhere to the specific terms of the contract. If a party continues to not comply after being ordered to specifically perform, a civil or criminal contempt action may be brought against the non-complying party, which if granted, may result in jail time. Specific performance is typically used as a remedy for enforcing provisions regarding unique items, such as pieces of land or heirloom jewelry, for which monetary damages may not make the injured party whole.
Monetary damages may also be awarded as a result of a breach of contract claim. In awarding damages, the goal of the court is to put the injured party back into the same position as he or she would have been if the non-complying did not breach the contract.
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Orders of the court, including orders for child custody, child support, alimony, equitable distribution, and specific performance, as well as agreements incorporated into orders (such as a separation agreement incorporated into the final divorce decree of the parties involved), are enforced through the contempt powers of the court system. The injured party must file suit against the non-complying party in the form of a "contempt" or "show cause" motion.
To begin a contempt action, the injured party will typically file a motion with a court laying out the details of the contempt by the non-complying part and then schedule the matter for hearing. The party alleging the contempt has the burden of proof to show that the other party is indeed in willful contempt of the court order.
Alternatively, the moving party may file what is known as a motion to "show cause," which basically lays out the moving party's position and asks that a judge issue an order requiring the other party to "show cause" as to why he or she is in contempt at a hearing. Essentially, with a show cause action, the burden of proof regarding the contempt shifts from the moving party having to proof contempt to the non-moving party having to proof that he or she is not in willful contempt.
If the non-complying party is found to be in willful violation of the order, he or she will likely be held in contempt and the judge will attempt to force compliance or administer an appropriate punishment, which include a number of possibilities, including: attorney's fees, making the innocent party whole (for example, by allowing a parent who was denied court ordered parenting time to make up that time moving forward), or jail.
How we can help.
* Reviewing agreements and orders to ensure validity and to uncover potential claims.
* Filingsuit to enforce your agreement.
* Negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
* Litigatingyour claim at trial.
* Defendingyou against a contract claim.
Call today to speak with one of our attorneys regarding your contempt or contract matter. Or, click below to visit our contact page.
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To speak with one of our Charlotte attorneys regarding enforcing an agreement, call us at 704-412-1442.