What Does Contempt of Court Mean in Terms of Child Custody?
Family law cases that involve a child custody order are serious documents, and parents who do not adhere to these orders can put their children’s lives in turmoil. As a result, some parents choose to use the court’s contempt process to enforce their rights.
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In order to be held in contempt, the other parent must know the court order and must be able to follow it. In addition, the non-complying parent must have a good reason for disobeying it.
There are two types of contempt that can be used in a custody case: civil and criminal.
Civil contempt typically involves failure to comply with a court order, often related to child support, visitation, or spousal support. This kind of contempt can be punished by a fine or jail time, and it serves to encourage the person in violation to start following the court order.
If you are a parent who is being accused of contempt, your first step is to talk to an experienced child support attorney in your area. They will be able to help you determine whether you are in violation of the court order, and they can also advise you on how to defend yourself against contempt charges.
A court will require proof that you have willfully disobeyed the custody order. It will also look at whether the violations are one-time events or a pattern of behavior.
The best way to protect yourself from contempt is to keep records of every communication between you and your co-parent. This can include phone calls, emails, and other forms of contact.
Keeping records of your communications can also be helpful for when you do end up being charged with contempt. This can give you the chance to argue that your reasons for not following the court order were reasonable and in line with what is best for your kids.
In most states, there are some limitations on who can be held in contempt of court, such as people who are not parties to the proceeding or those who are merely involved in the proceedings. However, judges have broad discretion in determining who to hold in contempt and the type of contempt to hold them in.
If you have questions about how to handle your child custody issues, speak with an experienced attorney in your area to learn more about your legal options.
How Can I File for Contempt of Court?
The best way to prevent being held in contempt of court is to keep up with your child support payments, or if you have a divorce or separation, keep up with any other orders that the court has placed on you. It is also a good idea to inform the court if you have trouble making your payments.
You should not make any admissions about failing to follow the order, and you should follow the rules of court procedure. If you have any questions about your child custody rights or what to do if the other parent does not comply with the court’s orders, speak with an experienced Pleasanton family law lawyer.