Carmel Contempt Attorney
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In family law cases, when one side refuses or simply fails to follow the terms set out in a court order or approved divorce settlement, they can found in contempt. There are many ways a party may be in contempt of a court order. For instance, if a parent actively interferes with the terms of a parenting time order, a finding of contempt may be appropriate. Another example is when one spouse is required to transfer property to the other spouse, but fails to do so or ignores a deadline.
Indiana Laws on Contempt of Court
There are different types of contempt in which you can be held, according to Indiana state laws. It is best to understand each one as it applies to your particular case and so can help either avoid (if you are the spouse in question) or take action if you need to hold your spouse accountable.
They are as follows:
- Direct: The person states in court that he or she will not comply with the court order.
- Indirect: The person refuses to comply with the court order.
What do I do if my ex-spouse is not complying with a court order?
In order to find an individual in contempt, a court must be able to determine that the party in question acted in willful disobedience of the court's order. If an individual has to seek court intervention, a motion explaining the circumstances must be filed with the court and a hearing would be requested. Both sides may have the chance to argue their position during this hearing.
At a hearing, the party seeking the contempt citation has the burden of proving the other party has acted in willful disobedience of the court's order. This could include evidence that one party repeatedly did not deliver the child for parenting time, or perhaps failed to make any effort to sell the property or goods. In short, it must be shown that an individual had an obligation to perform a certain action and failed to do so.
What will the court do if my ex-spouse is found to be in contempt of a court order?
If it is shown that a party willfully disobeyed an order, the court has the authority to tailor the appropriate punishment. While there are numerous options available to a court are, typical contempt citations include monetary penalties, payment of attorney's fees for the other side, and even potential jail time. The primary purpose of contempt is to coerce the other party into action for the benefit of the aggrieved party.
Should I seek to hold my ex-spouse in contempt?
It is important to note that contempt actions are not appropriate to address minor grievances or isolated incidents of behavior. An individual and their attorney should not seek to use a contempt action in a vindictive manner. Rather, it is a remedy available when one party has resisted informal attempts to resolve a dispute and there are no other options available to obtain fulfillment of court-ordered obligations.
If you feel that you have no other legal avenue to hold your ex-spouse or partner accountable for their responsibilities as laid out in a court-order, call on Hollingsworth Roberts Means. Our contempt attorneys in Carmel and Indianapolis are here to fiercely advocate on your behalf and can fight for justice.