A divorce, especially those that involve minor children, is made up of a series of orders. A failure to abide by any of those orders can result in serious consequences for the party and one of those is being charged with contempt of court. To find out more about this offense and what it might mean, read on.
What Is Contempt?
When a party blatantly disregards the court's wishes, they may be charged with contempt of court. While many are familiar with this issue in regard to courtroom behavior, a failure to obey the judge's orders may also result in contempt. With divorce, numerous opportunities exist for contempt of court issues to arise.
Contempt in Divorce Cases
When an order is issued, it has to be followed and orders involving minor children abound within a divorce. Take a look at just some of the following examples of orders that might result in contempt of court if not followed:
- One party is failing to return the child according to the visitation schedule or one party is refusing visitation to the other.
- Child support is not being paid as ordered.
- One party is allowing the child contact with unsafe parties or situations.
- One party is failing to provide medical care for the child.
Proving Contempt of Court
Minor mistakes and disagreements may not fall under the seriousness of the contempt of court category. To meet the legal standards, the acts of the party must be willful and deliberate. You have to prove that your ex had full knowledge of the order and its specifics and that they deliberately disobeyed the order anyway. An occasional late pick-up or other issue should be dealt with between the parties and only brought before the judge when it appears the other parent is repeatedly disobeying the order.
Punishment for Divorce Contempt
If the ex is judged to be in contempt, the consequences can vary depending on the level of the offense and the impact of the act on the health and well-being of the child. Contempt in a criminal proceeding can bring jail time, but that seldom happens in a civil matter like divorce. In most cases, the offending party is officially admonished and warned to correct the behavior. If matters are not resolved in that manner, a change in custody or visitation may be ordered.
If your ex is failing to abide by orders, speak to your divorce lawyer at once.