Contempt and Show Cause Motions
How to File a Motion for Contempt
There is a legal solution in divorce law if a former spouse fails to obey a divorce order, such as not paying overdue child support or alimony, or not complying with an order for child visitation, custody of a child, or property division. You must first file a motion for contempt, also called a motion to show cause, in the court that issued the original divorce order and request that the court issue an order holding the other party in contempt of the order. Self-help measures, such as denying a parent visitation for failure to pay child support, are not only disallowed under divorce law (and unfair to the child in such an example), but may wind up with you being the one held in contempt of court.
In order to win your motion for a contempt of court order, you will need to prove the following:
- The defendant was aware of the order
- The order was violated
- The defendant had the ability to comply with the order
- The defendant voluntarily chose to violate the order and is therefore in contempt of court divorce decree terms
A hearing will be held in the divorce court for the judge to decide if a contempt of court order should be issued. If back child support is owed and the court finds that under the terms of the divorce contempt of court has occurred, the contempt order may be used to pursue collection of child support through child support enforcement services. The defendant may also be penalized through denial of a drivers license, withholding a tax refunds, and more. If there is a finding of contempt of court divorce settlement terms, such as deeding over property or selling an asset to divide proceeds, the judge may order the defendant to sign necessary paperwork, etc. Usually, the defendant will be given an opportunity to immediately cure the contempt by making full payment or taking other necessary actions before the judge issues the contempt of court order.
One of the most common motions for contempt of court divorce courts hear are those claiming a deadbeat dad owes back child support. However, either party may be guilty of contempt of divorce decree matters under divorce law. Other issues commonly raised when seeking a determination of contempt of court divorce settlement terms include overdue alimony payments, violation of a restraining order, and failure to comply with terms of property division in the divorce settlement. US Legal Forms offers affordable, top quality contempt and show cause motions for any type of contempt of divorce decree.