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Not following court orders may cost you more than you think

No matter where you live, whether it's here in Washington or another state, judges take court orders very seriously. This is true even if the order comes from another jurisdiction. That's because, just as we have to follow the direction of the courts, judges have to follow the law; and if the law is specific about enforcing a court order, they too must abide by it.

But without extensive legal knowledge or the help of an attorney, it can be difficult in a divorce to know what things can result in court orders. This could leave you with a lot of questions that could result in bigger problems for you down the road.

When it comes to divorce and other family law issues, courts can require orders for a number of issues including:

  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Child support
  • Parenting plans
  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Domestic violence

When a judge issues an order pertaining to one or more of the issues above, there is an expectation that both the petitioner -- the person seeking enforcement of the order -- and the respondent -- a person against whom the order is being taken -- will follow it. Failing to do so, whether by choice or by extenuating circumstances, can result in a contempt of court charge that comes with its own legal consequences.

The penalties associated with contempt sanctions can vary depending on the family law issue. A judge may issue something as simple as seeking counseling to more severe punishments such as repaying the petitioner's legal fees. As a last resort, a judge may even order jail time.

Because of what's at stake, you may want to seek legal representation during the divorce process. A lawyer can not only explain how the law will apply to your situation but they can answer any questions you might have that would help you avoid litigation later on.

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