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Motions for Contempt in Family Law Cases

What happens when after orders are entered in your family law case, the other party violates the order?  In some cases, you can file a motion for contempt and ask the court to enforce the order.  A motion for contempt can be appropriate in the following circumstances:  one parent fails to allow visitation as required by the parenting plan, one parent will not return the child to the other at the end of the visitation, one parent fails to encourage the child to comply with the parenting plan.  A motion for contempt may also be appropriate if child support or spousal maintenance are not being paid as ordered. Furthermore, contempt motions may be used to require the other party to give you property awarded to you by a court order.  Motions for contempt may also be necessary to enforce temporary orders or other permanent orders.

If you are considering filing a motion for contempt, you should be sure you have adequate grounds to do so.  In most cases, this means speaking with a family law attorney about the orders that have been violated and your best method of redress.  In many cases, an attorney will recommend that you remind the other party of the order (in writing) and ask that the other party comply.  The attorney will also probably advise that you keep records of these requests and any other documentation necessary to prove that the orders were violated.

If the court finds that the other party is in contempt, it can order a number of remedies depending on what type of order was violated.  That said, in addition to whatever remedy is obtained, if the other party repeatedly fails to comply with court orders, an order of contempt can create a record of these actions.  In some cases, if there are multiple findings of contempt (or even only one finding), the court may provide additional remedies to ensure that the order is not violated again.

In addition to ensuring that you can prove that the other party violated the order, you will want to be sure that you have complied with the order.  For example, if your order of child support requires that you send receipts for extracurricular activities prior to the other party paying you, be sure that you have sent the receipts before you complain to the court that the other party hasn’t paid.

If you have a family law order that is currently valid, but is not being followed, you may want to discuss your circumstances with a family law attorney.  We would be honored if you chose to contact Blair & Kim, PLLC.