When it comes to lack of compliance with a family court order, many remedies are available, the strongest of which is filing a motion to hold the non-compliant party in contempt of court. Civil contempt of court carries serious consequences. While not a criminal offense, civil contempt could result in jail time in extreme cases.
A judge will not find someone in contempt without good cause. You can file a motion for contempt with the help of a dedicated family law advisor. Don’t file a motion on your own, schedule a consultation with a St. Louis contempt of court lawyer.
Proving Civil Contempt
Before the court can issue a finding of contempt and any penalties, evidence must be presented to show that the party had an obligation to do something required by court order and failed to uphold that obligation.
Contempt is a common tool for the enforcement of child support, spousal support, or other expenses related to children. To find a person in contempt in these cases, the court must determine that a valid order for support exists and establish whether the party failed to comply with its terms by making late payments, not paying the full amount, or failing to make any payments at all, for example. The Court must also find that the non-paying party had the ability to pay.
Not all contempt cases in family court center on financial disputes. Judges also have the power to find someone in contempt of court if they violate the terms of a custody or visitation order. An example of such a violation would be failing to return a child to the custodial parent at the appropriate time or location.
Making a case for contempt could be possible with professional help and guidance from a St. Louis family ally. By filing a motion for contempt, a party to a family law case could seek enforcement of the court’s original order. In some instances, this is the only approach that is likely to result in compliance. In fact, filing the motion could put pressure on the other party to meet their obligations before a hearing on the matter occurs.
The Ability to Comply
It is important to note that the courts will take into account a party’s ability to comply with the original court order. Compliance with these orders is mandatory, but judges typically try to avoid fining or jailing a non-compliant parent when they lack the resources to meet their obligations.
In these cases, one of the most important questions is whether or not the parent intentionally failed to comply. This goes beyond whether that individual chose not to make the payments. For example, an individual who quits their job to avoid having to pay child support could face contempt charges. A family law advocate in St. Louis could draft a motion for contempt to hold that individual accountable.
Contact a St. Louis Contempt of Court Attorney Today
If the other party in your family law case has failed to meet their obligations according to a court order, you have enforcement options. The strongest of these options is filing a motion for contempt.
You can benefit from having legal counsel that understands the contempt process. Contact a St. Louis contempt of court lawyer today.