Contempt in Family Court

Family Court

If your ex-spouse has disregarded a court order, you probably feel frustrated and unsure of what to do. The good news is that you do not have to stand for this kind of behavior. You can get a contempt order to force him or her to follow the order that is being violated.

How do I get a contempt order?

If a person isn’t following a court order, only the court can enforce a contempt order. The court can do a number of things to enforce a contempt order, like force someone to pay a fine, send them to jail, allow make up visitation periods or place the person on probation.

Is there anything special I need to enforce the order?

In order to enforce an order through contempt, there has to be clear and unambiguous language that would tell the parties what the court has ordered. For example, if the order is for visitation, it must specify the day, place and time. It also has to state when the visitation ends. If it is a case of child support, For child the court order has to specify how much money has to be paid, the date on when the payments begin, the date on when the payments end and who will receive the child support.

What should I do if my original court order is not clear and specific enough?

Not all court orders are specific enough to warrant contempt. If this is the case with yours, the court has to clarify the order. When the new court order is finished, the court will let the person who violated the order try to follow it again.

Can the other party be held in contempt for not paying what they were supposed to pay in the divorce decree?

The other party can be held in contempt for not paying the medical support and child support that was originally ordered, but they can’t be held in contempt for not paying any liabilities or specific debts awarded in a divorce decree. The law doesn’t allow for people to be sent to jail for non-payment of a debt.

If you need assistance getting a contempt order, you may want to set up a consultation with a skilled Bloomington family lawyer as soon as possible. He or she can help you get the process started and answer any questions you may have.

Pioletti & Pioletti Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into divorce and family law.