Contempt & Noncompliance

As we proceed with your family law case, the court may issue temporary orders before a final order. Only after all issues have been addressed will the court issue a final order.

These orders typically deal with family law areas such as spousal support, child support, alimony, property division and settlement, child custody, and child visitation. Any order issued by the court must be strictly adhered to by the party owing a duty (that duty may be financial or may require action, such as the exchange of children per a parenting/visitation plan). The duty is owed not just to the other parent and the children, but also to the court that issued the order.

If the party owing a duty violates the terms of the court order, the other party may file a petition in court alleging contempt of the court's order. The contempt petition may be civil, criminal or both, depending on the circumstances. The court will issue a hearing date, and the party filing the petition must serve the party that is allegedly in contempt of the court order.

The parties will be required to appear before a judge, who will determine whether the party alleged to be in contempt is actually in contempt and then will make a further order as it deems necessary.

There are two types of contempt: willful and nonwillful.

  • Willful contempt is found when the person owing a duty has the ability to comply with the court's order, but chooses not to. A finding of willful contempt is serious and can result in incarceration as well as financial penalties. Paying the other party's attorney fees associated with bringing the contempt action is a common financial penalty for willful contempt of the court's order.
  • Nonwillful contempt is found when the person owing a duty does not comply with the court's order, but is adjudged to have violated the order due to extenuating circumstances that made it beyond his or her control.

Whether you are dealing with a party you believe is in contempt of the court's order or you've been accused of being in contempt for violating the court's order, you need a strong, competent attorney and advocate for your position, one who has experience examining court orders, parenting plans and settlement agreements from both sides and explaining your rights and responsibilities to you.

Whether you need to bring an action for contempt of a court's order or defend yourself against such an action, call Hecht Family Law at 678-926-9234 and let's discuss your particular situation and circumstances.

Attorney Ed Hecht will help you protect your legal rights and get through the contempt issue, regardless of which side of the issue you're on.