Demand letter: Send the other party a letter by regular and certified mail explaining the violations and asking them to fix them. (Keep a copy of the letter for yourself.) This might lead to an agreed solution.
Even if it does not, this letter can show the judge later that:
- you are being reasonable
- the other party knows about the court order
- you are unhappy with their behavior
Keep your letter specific, polite, and business-like.
Motion to Clarify: when a court order is vague or unclear. Example: The order just says “reasonable visitation.” You and the other parent disagree on what that means.
Motion/Petition to Modify: to ask the judge to change an order instead of asking the judge to enforce an order. (WashingtonLawHelp.org has a list of packets you might use.)
Enforcement and collection: For many kinds of money, support, and property orders, collection actions such as wage assignment, garnishment, or foreclosure are better than contempt. The Child Support Division of DSHS provides free collection services for child support (and spousal maintenance if there is also a child support order).
Dispute resolution: Your parenting plan or court order may require you to try an alternative to court first if you disagree about the parenting plan or order.
Criminal prosecution: Only for very serious cases.