Contempt of Court – The Basics in Divorce or Family Law Cases (Adapted from NW Justice Project) Part III – The risks of filing for contempt
Part I defined contempt as intentionally disobeying a court order. A family law attorney is your best resource for determining if contempt is appropriate in your case.
Part II provided questions to answer with your family law attorney to determine if seeking action for contempt is right for your case.
What risks are associated with filing for contempt? Your family law attorney will help you determine the possible risks in filing for contempt in your particular case. Filing a Motion for Contempt may have the following consequences.
Filing for contempt may put you in the position of having to defend a modification motion if the other party decides to file a motion to change to the court order they are violating.
If you have violated the court order yourself, the other party may file a contempt motion of their own in response to your filing. An argument the other party may use in defense is that your violation of the order prevents them from obeying the order.
Filing for contempt on a small, unimportant item, even if it happens multiple times may have unintended negative consequences for you when a judge rules. See Part II for deciding if filing for contempt is right for you.
The emotional consequences of going to court, again, for a contempt filing can affect everyone in a negative way. Creating hard feelings among the parties involved and increasing the risk of the parties behaving in a manner that is destructive as well as upsetting children are all negative consequences.
Court costs may be charged to the losing party. If your motion for contempt has no reasonable basis, you will be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees as well as the fees for your own family law attorney.
NEXT: PART IV – The court finds contempt