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What Is a Court Order?

Jail time is one possible consequence of disobeying a court order.
Court orders are typically given in writing and must be signed by a judge.
Court orders are often notarized.
Courts issue orders to prohibit or command specific acts.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 June 2014
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A court order is a legal document or proclamation in which a court tells a person to perform a specific act, prohibits him from performing an act, sets a court date, or legally establishes something. For example, a court order may require an individual to pay a specific amount of money to another party. It may also prohibit a person from doing something, such as walking across another party’s property. Some are used to set a date specifying when parties involved in a case are expected to appear in court. Others may establish the relationship between parties in a case.

In many cases, court orders are given in writing and signed by a judge. In some places, however, a judge’s signature isn’t enough; an order has to be notarized to make it official. There are even cases in which an order is given orally in open court. In such a case, the order may be recorded in the court's transcripts but not given to the parties in writing.

Depending on the type of case, a person may suffer penalties for failing to follow the instructions in a court order. For example, a person may lose a case by default if he fails to show up in court at the date and time specified in a court order. If a defendant fails to appear for his trial, he may be arrested and put in jail.

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There are many types of court orders. One of the most familiar may be the restraining order. This type of court order requires a person to stay away from another party. It may require the individual to remain a specific distance away from another person. It may even prohibit a party from talking to a specific individual by phone. The purpose of this type of order is to prevent harassment and threatening behavior.

A custody order is another familiar type of court order. This type of order stipulates which parent should have custody of a couple’s minor children. It may also give either or both parties a specific type of custody, such as sole custody, in which one parent has the right to have the children live with him. If joint custody is ordered, the children may live with each parent for part of the time instead of one parent all of the time. Sometimes custody orders are issued at the same time as child support orders, which require a parent to contribute money to a child's care.

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Discuss this Article

mariposa222
Post 24

I have a court order that orders my ex-husband's mother to repay a child support over payment, made by me, in the amount of almost $4,300.

This is out of Lorain County in Ohio. I am looking for answers because I keep getting the runaround. The court order names the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) to recoup my money but they say they need a S.S.N before they can enforce the order, although a recoup account has been set up. So, they tell me the prosecutor has to enforce the court order! Nothing is being done. I've made at least three dozen phone calls and just recently made a trip back to Ohio to address them in person. Still, no answers!

What can I do to get this court order enforced? If I have to do this myself, which I feel I will have to. Here are my questions: 1. The amount exceeds small claims court, so, do I file at the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas?

2. What do I file?

It will cost me $200 to file a case and $150 to file a motion. I will take material possessions as payment if I can get an order making it a crime if they try to sell all their things so I can't get paid.

What can you tell me? Any information will help me at this point.

anon342223
Post 23

I need help on what might be a fake claim form that came through the post. I think it is fake but I am not sure. Do they have to have bar codes at the bottom and an address because this one doesn't.

anon338707
Post 22

How do you get court ordered gain time given by the judge to take it off the sentence if it is somehow not taken off the sentence yet? I can't contact my lawyer and need help in Florida.

anon336607
Post 21

The road that lead to my building is being narrowed to such an extend by neighbourings that hardly a two wheeler can pass now. When I bought the plot, my car could easily pass through. I have spoken to council but there is no progress. Now I want to go legal. Please help. How can I restore my road?

anon322426
Post 19

Does anyone know whether there is any provision in the law that restricts a woman having divorce case at court entering her husband's place without permission?

nextinline
Post 18

The attorney for the defendant in the case I am involved in filed a motion for partial dismissal. He also had an order of court prepared for the judge to sign for the dismissal.

This case is going to federal court. How do federal judges (or any judge for that matter) feel about order of courts that are prepared for their signature? I think the lawyer is being very pushy, but then again I am the plaintiff and of course I don't want the case dismissed.

anon274829
Post 16

My ex-husband stopped making child support payments about three months ago. He is an attorney (CA) and even though I send him email after email, he has not paid. I am afraid to go back to court because I cannot afford to hire an attorney and he is an attorney. He makes great money working for the Department of Justice and he knows how to play the system.

anon271057
Post 15

My son is refusing to see his father. He is 13 and he has not seen his dad since October 2009. There have been a lot of lies, letdowns, etc., etc.

His father refused mediation and did not reply to the lawyers' letters, so the lawyers closed the file on him. He avoids CSA and changes his employment status. He has hardly paid a penny for his son over the past eight years since we have been apart and divorced. He has sent no Christmas or birthday presents. He does not reply to bank letters to change an account to a higher rate account for our son's future.

I've always told him about parents nights and other important things our son was in, but he never turned up. I am looking to get something for him to relinquish all parental responsibility, and also to get something for him to sign regarding the higher interest rate account for our son. The account was set up when our son was born and it requires two signatures for changes/withdrawals. I don't want the money, but want to transfer it to a higher interest rate fixed until our son turns 18. His dad refuses to reply to the bank and I live in Scotland. What can I do?

anon167682
Post 14

does anyone know if you have a court order to pay a summons and you didn't have money to pay it on the day it was supposed to be paid and didn't even show up but you will pay the summons two days later. will i get arrested?

anon142443
Post 13

My daughter is 14 months old and we would like to legally add a name to her birth certificate. I have read that a court order is needed but I would like to know what type of court order and if this is something that I can accomplish without an attorney. We are located in Arizona. --elizabeth

anon126526
Post 11

what kind of court order do I need to file to have a car returned that I have a lien on?

anon125794
Post 10

I have a court order that states I had to give up a house to another party by a certain date. The other party never did anything. How do I find out if I can just sell the house?

anon114792
Post 9

My wife cosigned for a condo with her ex boyfriend three years ago. They broke up and she legally signed away her part of the condo. However, she is still on the mortgage. We sat down with him a year and a half ago to sign the papers for him to refinance it to remove her from the contract. He still hasn't. Do we need a court order to make him refinance it? -kyle

anon114441
Post 8

My daughter just turned 17 and she is very disrespectful and hard to deal with on a day to day basis. she goes on about leaving my house and being on her own. I need help on getting her out of my house. emancipation -- what do i do to get her out my house? She has a job part time and is currently being homeschooled. She needs to go because she doesnt want to be here and i don't want her to be here, either. what do i do to help?

Prayers2Heal
Post 7

Anon105266- I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately I think you will have to testify. As hard as it’s going to be to face him, the judge is going to want details. Because some women are afraid to testify, some men go free or get decreased sentences. Then they do it all over again to someone else or come back after you. Stay strong and make sure he gets what he deserves. Remember he’s in jail for a reason, hurting you. Good luck to you.

anon105266
Post 6

My husband is in prison for two months for domestic violence. He will stay there until October and then he will go back to court. Will i be called to the court to testify and will i have to see him. what if i do not want to see him and what if he lies and gets away. i am very scared that he will attack me.

KeyLimePie
Post 5

Clarinetist- I have an injunction of harassment against my neighbor as well. They have been allowing their aggressive dog to roam the streets for years. I had been calling the animal control and police, but despite legal warnings these people refused to keep the dog leashed.

My husband and I went down to the courthouse to put the injunction on the mother because she physically threatened me if I continued to contact the authorities. I have to say justice was served this time; not only free from her threats, but the judge also added the dog must never be at large. It is good for one year and can be renewed.

WaterHopper
Post 4

@stormyknight: An injunction against harassment prohibits someone from annoying, harassing, or alarming another person. They can be used against pretty much anyone. Many have to use these injunctions against neighbors or anyone else that might be harassing them.

The different type of relationships you might have will determine which protective order you need.

An injunction against harassment is different from an order of protection.

StormyKnight
Post 3

What exactly is an injunction of harassment?

chrisinbama
Post 2

@clarinetist: Unless it differs from state to state, an order of injunction against harassment must be served within a year of the date it is issued.

clarinetist
Post 1

Does anyone know how long a injunction of harassment lasts? I just found out my neighbor’s son had a restraining order placed on him for harassing another boy down the street. We just moved into the neighborhood and my son has become friends with the boy’s parents who filed the order of protection.

I may be a little over worried about Todd’s well being, but apparently this teenager is violent and verbally aggressive. I don’t want that to expire without being aware and my son be harmed.

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