Violations of family law court orders, such as custody, visitation, child support, and alimony can result in a finding of contempt of court. Since visitation schedules or regular support payments become legally binding in court, willfully disobeying them can subject you to court penalties—including jail time. So what exactly constitutes contempt and what are the consequences?
What Constitutes Contempt?
A violation of a court order can happen at any time throughout the divorce process, including non-payment of child support or alimony, not following the visitation agreement and hiding assets so as not to divide them equally with the other spouse. However, these actions must be done intentionally. To be found in contempt, it must be proven that the accused person:
- Knew the order existed
- Could comply with the order but violated the conditions knowingly
- Lacks an excuse for the violation
If someone is accused, there must be solid evidence for a successful filing for contempt. For example, if one spouse accuses the other of not paying their child support for the past few months, the accuser must gather evidence that proves the payments were not made. On the other hand, the accused parent can also collect evidence to prove they did make the payments, if they actually have.
Consequences of Contempt
Committing contempt can include both civil and criminal penalties, such as fines, attorney fees, reduced custody time and even jail. Even if the court determines that contempt occurred, they will usually give the offending party a chance to make up for the violation. Certain states also issue economic damages, which forces one party to compensate the other for any economic losses they may have suffered.
If want more information about violations of family law court orders and contempt, please contact our Louisville family lawyer today. Attorney Winner has over 15 years of experience and has the legal insights and proven representation you need and deserve.
Call (502) 812-1889 or contact him online.