Contempt Proceedings In Family Law Cases


At the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we understand that all issues regarding child support, alimony and child custody can be highly stressful and emotional. If you believe your former spouse has violated court-ordered decisions, we will fight for you and your children. If you are being accused of being in contempt of court, our team of experienced attorneys will help make your voice heard in court. Contact us to schedule a consultation and to discuss your case with a family law attorney in Gainesville, FL.

What Is Contempt?

During the divorce process, a judge will rule on a variety of topics that both spouses must adhere to, such as alimony and child support. Once these decisions have become finalized, they are considered to be a court order. If either party violates any of the established terms for any unjustified reason, the other party has the right to take legal action and prove contempt against the other party.

Whether you wish to enforce a court order or charges are being brought up against you, consult experienced Gainesville lawyers to provide you with legal assistance for contempt procedures.

How Is Contempt Determined?

In order to prove contempt in a family law court, the following conditions must be satisfied.

  • Evidence shows clear proof of plain and willful violation of the order
  • The party allegedly acting in contempt knows of the court order
  • Notice was provided to the individual of his or her order violation
  • A charge of contempt is an adequate remedy to the situation
  • A valid court order is in effect
  • The individual is able to comply with the order

What Are The Consequences Of Being Found In Contempt?

Being found in contempt of court is a serious offense with a number of consequences, including fines and jail time. If an individual is found in contempt from failure to pay child support or alimony payments, he or she will have the opportunity to make the payment before facing further legal consequences. The purpose of being held in contempt is to force one party to uphold his or her portion of the court order.

Typically, jail time is the last resort and the threat of time behind bars often motivates spouses to submit to the court order. If the guilty party is sent to jail and posts bail, the bail amount is then used to repay the debt he or she owes. If the crime is related to child custody or visitation, the guilty party will most likely be forced to surrender a number of their assigned days to make up time to the other parent.

What To Do If You Are Accused Of Being In Contempt

Understandably, when it comes to divorcing a spouse and determining child custody, each of the parties can become emotional. If you mistakenly violate court orders or disregarded them for any reason, you need an experienced Gainesville divorce attorney to defend you against charges of contempt. Many people claim they were not aware of the court orders and hope the judge will be lenient.

However, claiming ignorance will likely only frustrate the judge further. Instead, you will need to provide an adequate and reasonable excuse or begin taking actions to comply with the ruling. If you are unable to maintain child support or alimony payments because of a change in income, it is vital that you petition the court as soon as possible.