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What Does it Mean To Be Found “In Contempt?”

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What Does It Mean To Be in Contempt of Court?

After a divorce, a court’s main priority is to maintain stability for children now that their parents no longer live together. Because of this, both parents must adhere to court orders regarding child support, visitation, and custody, to name a few.

If you don’t abide by a court order, you may be found in civil contempt.

Willful vs Non-willful Disobedience

If you’re found in contempt, the courts will determine if your noncompliance was willful or non-willful.

To be found willfully disobedient, it will need to be proved that you were 1. Aware that the court order existed 2. Had the ability to follow the order and 3. Chose not to obey it (there were no mitigating circumstances affecting your ability to comply).

Alternatively, someone found in non-willful contempt was unable to comply with a court order because of circumstances out of their control. One of the most common examples of non-willful disobedience is when a parent is unable to pay child support because they lost their job.

What Happens When Someone Is in Contempt of Court?

Traditionally, the goal of civil contempt is not to punish a person, but rather force them to begin obeying the order.

However, every case is unique. Depending on the severity and length of a person’s noncompliance, they can face:

  • Wage garnishment.
  • Court-ordered supervised visitation.
  • Fines.
  • Modifications to the original parenting plan that don’t favor the parent found in contempt.
  • Imprisonment.

And while contempt matters in family court typically involve children, it is possible to be found in contempt if a person refuses to obey any court ruling, such as alimony payments to a former spouse.

At Blood Law, PLLC, we believe in helping our clients achieve their goals – no matter how complex their divorce or other family law issue. Our lawyers provide tailored legal services with a unique, team-based approach to do our best to achieve these results.

To learn more about our legal services, contact our lawyers online or give us a call at (704) 286-0570.