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