If you or the other party do not follow a divorce or custody order, you may find yourself involved in a contempt proceeding. A contempt proceeding is initiated by having the judge sign an Order to Show Cause, which is then served personally on the noncomplying party. The Order to Show Cause requires the noncomplying party to appear to show cause for why he or she failed to comply with the divorce or custody order. If the judge finds that the noncomplying party did not have “cause” (i.e. a good reason) for failing to comply with the divorce or custody order, the judge will find that party in contempt and may order that the noncomplying party pay the other party’s costs and attorney fees to file the contempt motion.
Common grounds for contempt motions in family law proceedings are failure to pay a support obligation and failure to follow a parenting time schedule. If the judge finds the noncomplying party in contempt for failing to pay a support obligation, the consequences can be severe and may include driver’s license suspension, occupational license suspension and even jail. If the judge finds the noncomplying party in contempt for failure to follow a parenting time schedule, the judge will typically order compensatory parenting time. Compensatory parenting time means that the party initiating the contempt proceeding will be able to make up the parenting time he or she missed because of the noncomplying party’s failure to follow the parenting time order during the noncomplying party’s time with the child. However, if the noncomplying party’s failure to follow the parenting time order constitutes persistent and willful denial or interference with parenting time, it can be grounds for a subsequent motion to modify custody.
Because the consequences of a finding of contempt can be severe, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. To speak with an attorney experienced in family law contempt proceedings, contact Tentinger Law Firm at 952-953-3330 or use our quick contact form.