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In June 2014, Addicus Publishing released the book “Divorce in Washington”, which was authored exclusively by David Crouse.view all
During the divorce process, the court may issue orders involving various matters such as custody, visitation, finances, and property division. Court orders are legally binding documents and all involved parties must adhere to them. Failure to comply can result in civil and criminal penalties. Unfortunately, some spouses choose not to comply with the terms of their orders, which can create unnecessary stress, hardship, and frustration on the other party’s behalf.
If your former spouse or partner is not following through with an important aspect of your court order, such as the visitation schedule, maintenance payments, or child support payments, we can help you file a Motion for Contempt and ask the judge to enforce the original orders and take additional measures get the other party to comply. To speak with a family law attorney in Spokane, call Crouse Erickson today at 509-624-1380.
The concept of contempt has been sensationalized in Hollywood scenes in which people get thrown out of court for stepping out of line. But most real cases of contempt occur outside the courtroom. In legal terms, contempt simply means the intentional disobedience of a court order.
Our firm has helped clients with the enforcement of all types of family law orders. Common infractions that can result in contempt include:
The object of filing a Motion for Contempt is not to punish, but rather to compel compliance. If the court finds the other party knowingly violated a court order and had the means to comply with such, the court may find that person in contempt, order compliance, and issue sanctions for their failure to comply. Some of the measures a judge may take to compel the party to adhere to the court order include:
The court may also schedule future hearings to ensure that the person in contempt is obeying the order.
If your ex is not complying with your family law court order, such as your divorce decree or parenting plan, you will need to:
Yes. Contempt is a very powerful tool, but sometimes it makes sense to try other, less severe methods of resolving noncompliance before resorting to filing a contempt motion. Alternative enforcement methods may lead to a quicker resolution, they may be less contentious and thus preserve a more amicable relationship between two parties. Avoiding the contentious nature of a contempt proceeding this way is especially desirable if a former couple has young children that each of them would rather not expose to a high level of family conflict.
As an added benefit, pursuing enforcement measures short of contempt first will demonstrate to a court that you are trying your best to resolve issues on your own before asking for contempt. This is likely to weigh in your favor and make the court more willing to grant your motion if, later on, it turns out you really do need to enforce your order in filing for contempt.
Alternatives for contempt include:
If you are having issues with the other party complying with any order (whether it is a temporary or final order), or if you are attempting to defend a contempt of court action filed against you, our attorneys are well prepared to assist you. We invite you to contact our office to better understand your rights in a contempt action: 509-624-1380.