Whenever someone isn’t following an existing court order, the other side of the case can bring an action to have them held in contempt of court. In family law cases, this can be for non-payment of child support or spousal support/alimony, for not following a parenting plan schedule or for any other violation of the court order.
The process can be complicated and involves many steps. It is important to have an attorney experienced in contempt cases to protect your rights. The family law attorneys at Hightower Reff Law have experience in pursuing contempt findings and defending against contempt charges. The person requesting the contempt finding must first show the judge enough evidence of contempt that the judge believes a hearing is necessary. Then, the person requesting the contempt must personally serve the other person, via sheriff or process server, with an application and order to show cause. A hearing will be held where a judge or court referee will decide whether or not the person is in contempt.
Once a judge finds a person in contempt of court, the judge must give that person an opportunity to purge themselves of the contempt by doing certain things. Generally, the judge will want compliance with the court order. If this does not occur within a certain amount of time specified by the judge, the person in contempt could face jail time. Given the complex process and severity of consequences, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side in a contempt case.