I come across this issue fairly often, many different contexts, and decided that it was a great issue to discuss here. It is very clear in all contexts. If you are subject to a Court’s Order, that Order remains effective until 1) that order expires or 2) the Court modifies the order.

The easiest example of this issue is seen with a restraining order. At your ex-wife’s request, the Court has ordered you to have no contact with her. That Order expires on August 1, 2015. The Order is a civil one. Violation of it is a criminal offense. Your wife has contacted you several times. She wants to speak with you and doesn’t care about the “no contact” order. Even though she wants to speak with you, you cannot contact her until a Judge modifies that order and removes the “no contact” provision (or vacates the order entirely).

Child support gives another great example of this issue. The Court ordered you to pay $1200.00 per week in child support. However, your high paying job has just downsized.  Your ex-spouse is actually very understanding, telling you that you don’t have to pay support until you find a new job and that you will “work it out between the two of you”.   As the weeks pass, you are in violation of the Court’s order to pay support. You must seek the Court’s permission before stopping support payments or you are in contempt of the Court’s Order.  Remember, this is no longer between you and your ex-spouse.  It’s now a matter between you and the Court.

If your ex-spouse wants to have contact with you, as in the first example, or doesn’t object seizure of child support payments, as in the second example, why do you need to go any farther than that? After all, that was the person who asked the Court to make the order in the first place. This is definitely correct and not an unreasonable assumption. However, the Court has now made an Order by which you must abide and only the Court can change that order. Your ex-wife has input, and can tell the Court her wishes, but the Court must actually modify or terminate the order.

Of course, there are other examples of this issue. These two scenarios are just two common examples.  Whether you are in a high asset situation with a possible need for a court modification or you may need to modify a “no contact” order, contact me for a meeting and we can discuss your case.  It may be time for a modification if your situation has truly changed.