What Violations of Divorce Orders Justify A Contempt Filing?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIn the event of a violation of an order stipulated in the final decree of divorce, the court has the right to take immediate penal action against the party held in contempt of court. A contempt of court can result in either civil or criminal penalties, in accordance with the seriousness of the violation and its impact on the well-being of the other party. There are several scenarios wherein you can file a motion for contempt of court against your ex-spouse.

Child or spousal support orders

In case your spouse refuses to make a contribution towards the child or spousal support ordered by the court of law in the final decree of divorce or makes late payments on a regular basis, you can report the issue to the legal authorities as a contempt case and request adequate corrective action. In addition to this, a spouse who only pays a portion of the amount ordered as a contribution to the child or spousal support will also be held in contempt of court and instigate a penalty of some kind. 

Child custody and visitation

Child custody and visitation are two of the most frequently violated aspects of a court order. There are several cases wherein one parent intentionally tries to violate the other partner’s right to exercise his or her share of the joint custody or parental visitation schedule. A failure to adhere to the parental plan crafted by the court of law as a part of the final custody arrangement is a major offense that is viewed as a contempt of court and commands stringent punitive actions. However, it is important for you to gather substantial evidence in the form of documents or soft copies of emails, text messages or other communications that might prove the violation. 

Failure to seek employment

More often than not, when a court instructs a partner to seek employment for earning their livelihood, it is viewed as a mere suggestion and not a full blown order. If an individual intentionally fails at finding a job or means of livelihood as directed by the court in the final decree, he or she is liable to be tried in a contempt of court proceeding. In other words, a person’s willful failure to obtain some kind of work or training to fulfill his/her obligation of supporting his/her children will be held in contempt of court.

If you find that your ex-spouse is violating any court orders mentioned in the decree of divorce, you can seek legal consultation from an attorney and file a contempt action with the court.

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.  

What Is A Contempt Action In A Divorce Case And How Do I File It?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThe final decree of divorce announced by a court of law is legally binding on both the parties involved in the lawsuit. In other words, it is a legal obligation on both the spouses to fulfill the demands of all court orders regarding the various aspects of a divorce verdict such as child custody, visitation, support, property distribution, and the like. The idea is to respect the court’s decision and minimize any post-divorce conflicts and disputes between the exes.

What is a contempt of court in a divorce?

When a party violates a divorce order, the court can find that party in contempt of court and carry out legal ramifications in a quasi-criminal proceeding.  It is an effective way of enforcing court orders against your spouse.  If your ex-spouse refuses to comply with the instructions stipulated in the final decree of divorce, you have the right to file a motion for a contempt of court and inform the legal authorities about the violation of the settlement. 

How do I file for a contempt of court in a divorce?

Owing to the fact that the court of law is instinctively motivated to be in complete control over its decisions, a contempt case is typically met with stringent punitive actions. In case you wish to file a motion for a contempt of court against your ex-spouse, you can either go ahead with it yourself or take the help of a divorce attorney. The next step is to serve a copy of the motion of contempt to your ex-spouse. If you are handling the situation all by yourself, you can consult the court officials regarding the forms you will be required to fill out and send to your spouse, as a court notice. However, if an attorney is involved, he/she will take up the responsibility of serving your ex-partner with the notice. The basic content of the motion will comprise of the orders of the final decree that have been violated by the other spouse and why he or she must be held in contempt of court.

If you find that your ex-spouse has not been keeping up with the obligations mentioned in the final decree of divorce, you must immediately take legal counsel and go ahead to ensure adequate action against him/her.

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.  

The Basics of How to File for Contempt of Court in Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmIn California, contempt of court orders can lead to quasi-criminal proceedings. Violations of divorce and family law issues can all be brought to the notice of the court. A contempt of court order can be filed to remedy the violation.

The Petitioner will have to file an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Contempt form to proceed with contempt petition. Because contempt of court is treated as criminal offense, sufficient proof is required.

Time limit – Violations regarding payment of support should be reported and contempt proceedings should be started within 3 years of the beginning of violation. But as child and spousal support payments are monthly obligations, each default is considered a separate contempt and legal proceedings can be started on the basis of that. Any other contempt will have to be reported within 2 years of the violation.

Evidences and proofs required – In order to file a contempt of court petition, you will need to provide the court with ample evidences that a violation has taken place. The following proofs will be required –

  • Valid and clearly specified orders issued by the court.
  • The accused spouse is aware of the court order. The spouse may have received a personal copy of the order or was present at the court when the order was made.
  • Intentional or willful violation of court orders by the accused. The accused may mention an inability to follow the orders of the court due to financial or other reasons. The term ‘willful violation’ depends on the present circumstances.

Rights of the accused – The accused spouse is entitled to contest the contempt of court petition. There are certain rights and laws that can be invoked by the accused.

  • Formal notification of the charges filed against him or her.
  • Right to hire a lawyer to contest or defend the accused in the court.
  • The accused has the right to a fair hearing and should be allowed to testify.

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.

Bringing Contempt Actions In Family Law Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmA contempt of court order regarding divorce or family law cases can be filed in California courts. Both husbands and wives can file for contempt of court against their spouse when they refuse to follow the court order. A contempt of court order is very useful but it is hardly used in divorce cases. Contempt of court can lead to criminal proceedings.

Violations of court’s decisions about child custody, spousal support, child support, property division, and any other payment can be contested and remedied by using the contempt of court order. In California, contempt of court can be filed against a number of violations.

Child support – Not paying child support is an absolute instance of contempt of court. Temporary as well as final child support payment orders are made by the court. If not adhered to, it is treated as contempt of court. It is contempt if the child support is paid late or if only a part of the amount is paid.

Spousal support – Similar to child support, partial payment or late payment or no payment at all of spousal support is considered contempt of court. Violations of orders of paying combined child and spousal support can also be brought to the notice of the court.

Attorney fees – Attorney fees of the other spouse are a part of support so it is that spouse’s need. Failure to pay this need-based fee is considered contempt. Codes 2030 and 2032 of the California Family Code categorize the different kinds of attorney fees in family law and divorce cases.

Restraining orders – An intentional violation of any kind of a restraining order, such as the one against domestic violence, is an obvious case of contempt of court. A ‘no contact order’ should be followed.

Visitation orders – One parent violates the other parent’s visitation rights of their children. Visitation schedules are not followed and the parent is not allowed to visit the child. Failure to follow the parenting plan approved by the court can be appealed at the court as contempt.

Splitting of property – One spouse can refuse to part with a personal property or transfer a piece of property to the other spouse even after being ordered to do so by the court.  

If you feel your rights are being willfully violated, you should approach the court and remedy it by invoking the contempt of court order. Seek the help of a lawyer.  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.                  

 
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