Contempt

Contempt

When someone files a Motion for Contempt Citation with the court, that party believes there has been a violation of the court’s order and is asking the judge to punish or penalize the other party.  When the Motion for Contempt Citation is filed, the court issues the citation and orders the individual to appear in court on a specific date to explain why he or she should not be held in contempt. An arrest warrant may be issued if the individual does not appear in court in response to the contempt citation.  This hearing is often called the advisement hearing.

There will also be a hearing at which the party seeking contempt has the burden of proof to show that other party has violated the court’s order. If the court finds there has been a willful violation of its order, the penalty may include fines, jail time or both.  If conditions are imposed such as complying with the court order, then the punishment may be suspended for a period of time to allow for compliance with the court’s order. The court will also take into consideration the circumstances and facts underlying the failure to follow the court’s order and a violation of court orders does not automatically lead the court to a finding of contempt.  One example of this would be where a party was ordered to pay money but did not have a present ability to make the payments.

In many cases, contempt citations can be resolved through negotiations between the parties’ attorneys subject to approval by the court. In order to resolve a contempt issue, there should be a written agreement in writing and signed by all parties involved that is then either filed with the court or read before the court so that it will exist in the court’s record.