In family law-related cases, when one side refuses or fails to follow the terms set out in an established court order, agreement, or approved divorce settlement, they can found in contempt. There are many ways someone may be in contempt. For example, if a parent actively interferes with the terms of a parenting order, a finding of contempt may be appropriate. Another example is when one spouse is required by the court to transfer property to the other spouse but ultimately fails to do so or ignores the deadline to make the transfer happen.
It is important to note that contempt actions are not appropriate to address minor events or isolated incidents of behavior. An individual and their attorney should not seek to use a contempt action in a vindictive or malicious manner. Instead, it is a remedy available when one party has refused attempts to resolve an issue, and there are no other options available to fulfill the court-ordered obligations.
There are essentially four types of contempt include direct, indirect, civil, and criminal contempt. Each type is defined as follows:
Direct: This action is usually a direct refusal to abide by the court’s ruling in the presence of the court or judge. Yelling or arguing with the judge is one example of how you can end up being held in contempt.
Indirect: Indirect contempt usually occurs outside the court and includes refusal of a court order or a subpoena. If you refuse to acknowledge, abide by, or go along with court orders when you are not in a courtroom, for example, you may be guilty of indirect contempt of court.
Civil: Civil contempt is often a broader term for how indirect contempt is charged. It involves a refusal of court orders, primarily unintentionally. Usually, a judge can hold someone accountable for civil contempt of court to try to enforce behavior.
Criminal: Criminal contempt is typically a broader type of direct contempt. An individual may intentionally try to embarrass a judge or prevent the court from proceeding, which can be considered direct criminal contempt.
If you are involved in a situation where you may need to seek out action for contempt of court, we may be able to help. Here at HOLLINGSWORTH ROBERTS MEANS, we have the skills, experience, and determination to help get you a favorable outcome for your case.
We have handled countless family law cases and know how to navigate the legal system. When you need someone who you can trust to help defend your rights and freedom, rest assured HOLLINGSWORTH ROBERTS MEANS is here for you. You can reach us at (888) 211-3888 or contact us through our website today.