What should I do if my ex isn’t following a court order?

A court order is not a suggestion – it is a mandatory order that must be followed less you be held in contempt.  If your ex is not following the order, filing a Complaint for Contempt conveys to the court that the opposing party is uncompliant.

What happens in a “contempt” action?

Filing a Complaint for Contempt begins a new legal case.  While it may be consolidated into an existing case, the filing creates new deadlines and generates a court date at which an explanation for disobeying the order is heard.

Is there a trial?

Most cases regarding contempt are heard without the need of a full trial.  Parties often reach an agreement or actions are taken by the other party to correct their actions. A simple hearing may be held in front of a judge to receive a decision on the filing.

What can happen if a person is found in contempt?

Harsh consequences are imposed by the courts when a person is found to be failing to follow orders.  Common repercussions include imposed sanctions, an order to pay for the legal fees of the victim, jail time, or an order to comply.

What frequent issues are covered in a Complaint for Contempt?

Issues commonly resulting in filing a Complaint for Contempt include:

  • Not paying child support
  • Not paying the correct amount of child support
  • Not allowing visitation
  • Not providing documents in a timely manner
  • Failing to pay alimony

What do you do if you have been served with a Complaint for Contempt?

If you have been served with a Complaint for Contempt, it is imperative to take the matter extremely seriously.  The consequences can be severe and there is a very limited amount of time to file an Answer to the Complaint

Can I represent myself at a Complaint for Contempt?

You are always entitled to represent yourself in your own case.  However, specific aspects must be proven when you are attempting to show the other party is in contempt of an order.  A case can be easily lost if even one of the points is missed.

If you are defending yourself against a Complaint for Contempt, the outcome can carry swift consequences, penalties, and fines.  It is advised to seek a skilled, knowledgeable Family Law attorney to reach the best outcome for your situation.

What if you can’t obey a court order?

When you can’t obey a court-issued order, but have legitimate reasons for your actions, you must file a Complaint for Modification.  This action explains to the court that you have changed circumstances which must be addressed.  Most commonly is the event of a job loss where a change in income makes you unable to follow the court order.