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Contempt of Court in Family Law

Dedicated Family Law Attorneys Serving Columbia

At Columbia Family Law Group, LLC, we have guided hundreds of clients through the Missouri legal system. If your spouse is failing to uphold a court order, you may be able to seek a remedy by filing a Motion for Contempt. Our experienced Columbia family lawyers can analyze the facts, discuss your options, and represent you throughout the process. Whatever your situation, we can provide informative legal services as you seek a favorable outcome. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Understanding Contempt & What It Means in Family Law Cases

Contempt is a legal term that is used when someone willfully violates a court order. It includes both action (willfully disobeying a court order), and inaction (the failure to obey a court order). In family law, a spouse may be found to be in contempt of court for violations of child custody arrangements, alimony payments, child support payments, and restraining orders. Contempt of court also relates to failure to pay attorneys' fees, as well as failing to follow a court order to seek employment.

Contempt in a family law case may involve:

  • A parent failing to pay child support
  • A spouse failing to hand over property after a divorce
  • A parent refusing to return a child after visitation has ended
  • An ex-spouse violating a restraining order

If your spouse fails to uphold a court order in your case, you may pursue a motion of contempt. Depending on the situation, the judge may order the convicted party to take a parenting class, participate in counseling, or check in with the court in future hearings to make sure he or she is obeying the court orders. The judge may also order the person to pay fines and reimburse the other party for attorneys' fees, as well as make up the cost of child support, alimony payments, and visitation time that was previously withheld.

How Do You Prove Contempt?

Contempt is a serious issue in family law cases. It means a spouse is intentionally violating the court orders from divorce and other family law proceedings, often causing emotional and financial harm to the other spouse and children. Missouri courts impose strict penalties on those convicted of civil contempt, including jail time in some cases. However, many times the court will provide an opportunity for the defendant to cure the contempt and obey the original orders.

In order to prove a person is in contempt of court in a family law case, there are 3 things that must be shown:

  • A valid court order exists
  • The person is aware of the court order's stipulations
  • The person willfully violated the court order

If these facts are proven in court, the judge will find the defendant to be in contempt of court. Civil and even criminal penalties could ensue, depending on the situation. The judge may also impose new orders to make the guilty party obey the original orders. Contempt of court is a way to enforce a court order against your spouse and make him or her provide the legal obligations to you and your family. Whatever your situation, it is important to seek the help of knowledgeable family law attorneys to represent your rights in court.

Pursue a Beneficial Solution with the Help of Our Lawyers

With more than 30 years of combined legal experience, our Columbia family law attorneys at Columbia Family Law Group, LLC can provide tenacious representation to clients in mid-Missouri. If your case involves contempt of court, or you need legal assistance with other complex situations, we can walk you through the process. Our compassionate team can talk with you, answer your questions, and determine an effective legal strategy for your case.

Call us today at (573) 662-4514 to speak with one of our compassionate legal advocates.

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