The Court has entered a Final Judgment and Decree in a divorce action or entered a Final Order in a custody or child support case. The Order has been signed by the Judge and filed in the clerk’s office. The Order clearly defines what is required of each party. Maybe your ex-spouse was ordered to turn over certain property to you or pay you alimony. Or your child’s father was required to pay a certain amount of child support each month. Or the mother of your children was required to allow you specific parenting time with your children or to speak with your children on the phone on particular day and time. Now, all that is required is for your ex-spouse or child’s other parent to comply with the terms of the Order. However, he or she has failed to do so. Now what?
A contempt action must be filed to hold opposing party’s feet to the fire. Contempt suits are filed in the county where the Order that is being violated was entered. Many contempt cases do not require an additional filing fee because they are seen as a continuation of the prior suit. Unlike a divorce case or modification of child custody or child support case, contempt actions are usually quick and straightforward. In fact, you may be able to even secure a court date for a date usually around 30-40 days from the date that you file. Moreover, it is quite common in contempt cases for your attorneys fees to be paid by opposing party since his or her failure to abide by the court order has forced you to pursue further legal action.
If you can prove that opposing party is in willful violation of a court order, he or she can be sanctioned by the Judge and ordered to comply with the judgment. You can secure child support arrearage, makeup time, or other relief that is narrowly tailored to your case. Courts can even incarcerate individuals who choose to disobey court orders.