Contempt in Family Law

Contempt Family Law

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My Ex Isn’t Following Court Orders

Are you tired of your ex violating court orders?  One of the many solutions to this common problem is seeking contempt of court against them.

What Can Lead to Contempt?

Some examples:

1. Not paying child support that that has been ordered.
2. Not paying spousal support that that has been ordered.
3. Not paying need-based attorneys’ fees that has been ordered.
4. Violating a restraining order.
5. Refusing to allow the other parent visitation as ordered in the parenting plan.
6. Failure to return the child to the other parent at the end of the visitation period.

How Do You Prove Contempt?

To hold the other party in contempt, you must prove four elements.

  1.  There must be a valid, written court order signed by the judge that is in effect.
  2. You must prove the other person knew about the court order.  (That they were served with the order, or were present in Court the day order was given.)
  3. You must show that the other party had an ability to comply with the order.  (except in child support).
  4. You must prove that the other party willfully failed to comply with the order (except in child support).
What Happens if My Ex is Found in Contempt of Court?

California Code Of Civil Procedure � 1218. Finding that person guilty of contempt_states that for each act of contempt, the convicted spouse or parent shall be fined up to $1000 and or imprisoned for up to five days.

So, fined.  Or imprisoned!

Benchbook on Contempt

Stephen Kolodny wrote a comprehensive guide.  You can access it here 2013 Family Law Contempts Cover and Benchbook.

Alternatives to Contempt

Contempt is sometimes necessary, but I view contempt as more “punishment” to other side rather than a true solution.  For example, if you are trying to punish your ex for not paying child support, locking him up in prison isn’t going to help with the payment.

If your end goal is to be paid (rather than see your ex in jail), then you may want to try other alternatives.

If your end goal is to modify the custody orders, requesting a change in custody due to their violation of orders is probably more effective having them pay a $1000 fine.

Read these articles.

My Ex Isn’t Paying Support

My Ex Isn’t Following Custody Orders


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