Charged With Contempt: The Effect of Violating Divorce Court Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmA court order is something that you should not take lightly. If the court orders to be present, you have to be present. If the court orders you to do something, you have to do it. If you don’t, you will be held in contempt. The court also requires people to maintain decorum inside a courtroom, failing to do which also attracts a charge of contempt. During divorce proceedings, if you intentionally disobey a court’s order, the consequences can be severe.

During a divorce, contempt charges are mainly due to willful disobeying of a court order.

Grounds on which contempt can occur

There are different grounds based on which you can be charged with contempt. Some of them are:

  1. Violating the residential schedule or residential time in a parenting plan, for example, exceeding visitation hours or failure to show up during visitation hours.
  2. Failure to pay child or spousal support.
  3. Failure to divide assets or property.


Committing contempt has serious consequences on the person who has been charged with it. It includes paying hefty fines and a possible jail term. If you have been found guilty of contempt, the court will give you one chance to correct yourself. If you repeat the same mistake twice, you will be punished.

If the question is about child support and you pay back the support or even some amount of it, the court will drop the contempt charges on you.

The court has the right to give you jail time based on the level of offense, but that is rare. In most cases, you will be let off with a hefty fine and a stern warning. You are also liable to pay for damages that incurred as a result of your offense. Damages, obviously, mean economic losses. It is best to avoid unnecessary fines and charges because you never know exactly how much loss you might have to bear after your divorce.

Seeking legal advice

It is always good to seek advice from legal experts and have their say on such matters. If there are contempt charges on you, get a good lawyer or ask for legal advice and then proceed. At times, you might be able to save a lot of money or even avoid jail time if you do the right thing.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.