The law provides for two approaches to contempt charges: civil and criminal. In civil proceedings, the court will try to coerce the non-complying parent to abide by a court order’s provisions. This charge does not use sanctions or other forms of punishment. Criminal contempt charges will involve sentencing for noncompliance.
Individuals that face contempt charges because they willfully violated a court-ordered divorce decree can experience a broad range of consequences. One such punishment could be fines, where the payment of which gets awarded to the injured spouse. This frequently occurs in cases where one parent interferes with the other’s visitation with their child. Additionally, the family court judge could also tack on the petitioning spouse’s attorney fees.
In matters where an ex-spouse fails to pay outstanding funds, they could find their wages garnished to recoup the money owed. For instances of child support default, a court could also sentence the defending spouse to jail time and possibly stay locked away until they have paid up their arrearage. There are also occasions where a judge will suspend the driver’s license, or other professional licensing of a parent found guilty of contempt.
Whether you have failed to meet your court-ordered responsibilities, or your ex-spouse has, it is critical to speak with an experienced family court attorney familiar with the contempt process. The Law Office of Thomas Stahl has over 13 years of experience assisting families with enforcement and contempt issues related to divorce and custody orders. Schedule a consultation right away if any of the above circumstances apply to your legal situation.
While you will not be able to file contempt charges against your ex-spouse for not adhering to your signed agreement without a court order, you do have other options available involving court enforcement. This area of law is highly complicated and cannot be answered in a few sentences. To find out what strategies we can use to bring your non-complying ex-spouse into compliance, you should schedule a free consultation with our family law attorneys at The Law Office of Thomas Stahl as soon as possible. We may be able to find a resolution to your issue without requiring a drawn-out legal battle with your former partner.