Contempt of Divorce Decree
You may think of a contempt charge in terms of criminal proceedings, but it can be applied to any violation of a court order—even to family court matters. The ramifications for violating a divorce decree can be serious; therefore, if you need assistance with a contempt charge you need to hire a strong and experienced divorce lawyer in College Station who will protect your rights.
What Is Contempt of Divorce?
When a judge signs the final divorce decree it becomes a court order. As such, any condition set forth in the decree is considered an order issued by the judge. A willful violation of any part of the decree, therefore, can lead to a Motion for Contempt. The penalties can be severe, ranging from fines to jail time. In some cases contempt of divorce can cause the judge to change the decree to favor the other party.
Among the most common reasons for contempt of divorce is non-payment of child support. The non-custodial parent may feel that the amount of child support he has to pay is unfair, but refusing to pay is no answer. Other common reasons for which a contempt of divorce can be brought are:
- Violation of visitation: failure to return child, refusal to release child for visits, etc.
- Failure to release property to the other party
- Non-payment of medical bills or other debts ordered
- Failure to keep a life or health insurance policy covering the other party
How a Contempt Charge Is Initiated
Generally the affected party seeks an enforcement action against the other. The first step should be to hire a divorce lawyer in College Station, who will then send a certified letter demanding compliance with the part of the divorce order that is being violated. The action needs to include a date by which the situation must to be remedied.
Assuming the other party fails to comply, your attorney will then file a Motion for Contempt with the family court. The violating party must be served with notice of this motion, as well as of the hearing date. At this point the optimal solution is for both parties to solve their differences through mediation. If this is unsuccessful, the matter will be heard by a family court judge, and a decision rendered.
Call Us if You Need Help with a Contempt of Divorce
A contempt of divorce charge is a very serious matter. If you need legal assistance, call a divorce lawyer in College Station who has both the experience and knowledge to provide you with the highest quality legal representation. Call Peterson Law Group at 979-703-7014.