Articles Tagged with contempt

If child support is not being paid as set forth in a valid court order there are a few steps that may be taken to obtain child support.  First, in almost all cases (excluding those involving a protection order or restraining order), the unpaid party should provide the other party with written notice of any unpaid support.  This notice should set forth the amount owed, and ask that the other party pay.  In some cases, written notice to the other party is all it takes to obtain payment for overdue support.  The notice can also be beneficial if your case ends up in court, as it can be used to show the court that you tried to solve the problem without involving the court.  If the party will not pay after notice has been given, the party receiving maintenance has options as to the next step.

One option is to contact the Division of Child Support and see what services they can offer to help you obtain back support.  Another option is to (with the assistance of an attorney, or on your own) file a motion for contempt.  If, after reviewing the evidence and the arguments of the parties the court agrees that the paying party is in contempt, the court may reduce the amount owed to a judgment and garnish the wages of the party in contempt.

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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.