Contempt charges are a painful, messy process and best avoided at all costs. However, when one party isn’t holding up their end of a legal agreement, it can be the only way to come to a resolution. What does it mean to be held in contempt of court in family law, and what are the repercussions?

What is Contempt of Court in Family Law?

Being held in contempt of court means that someone has broken a legal agreement. They must be proven to be in willful contempt of a court order. Willful contempt means that they were aware of their legal responsibilities and knowingly violated them.

There are two types of contempt: criminal and civil. Most family law situations revolve around civil contempt and are most often related to custody and child support or alimony payments. Civil contempt can be considered coercive or compensatory, though contempt in family law is almost always coercive. This type of contempt attempts to force one party to obey a court order they have broken.

How Are Contempt Charges Resolved?

When a party is held in contempt of court, there will be a punitive resolution. While a common resolution to contempt related to custody is paying a fine, there are situations where it can change the parenting plan. This could mean employing supervised visitation or reduced parenting time.

When someone is held in contempt after a failure to pay child support or alimony, the repercussions look a little different. Typically, this will result in wage garnishment or fines. However, in severe cases, there may be jail time.

Need Help Enforcing Court Orders? Contact the Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie

With a diverse background spanning criminal and family law, Derek S. Ritchie is an expert at finding solutions for his clients. When you need a lawyer, choose one that will fight for the best interests of you and your family. Get in touch with our office today to find out how we can advocate for you.