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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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A close family member of mine has an arrest warrant -payment

Customer Question

A close family member of mine has an arrest warrant for non-payment of a divorce settlement (contempt of court). In order to avoid losing everything and/or getting arrested, he liquidated all of his hard assets and now lives abroad with some of our relatives. The state where the divorce took place is on the east coast of the US.
If he returned to the US through California or Hawaii, would he be extradited back to the other side of the country for contempt of court? In this particular case, is it civil contempt of court or criminal contempt of court? Have there been any documented cases of people getting extradited across the country for not paying a divorce settlement?
I need a detailed answer for this question.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your brother's situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

The arrest warrant has in all likelihood already been entered into the Customs computer system and if your brother tries to enter the US, he will almost certainly be held at the border and denied entry until the state with the warrant makes a decision as to whether they will extradite him. This holding process could last up to 90 days and he would be held in jail during that time.

Yes, there are numerous examples of people being extradited to other states based on an arrest warrant for failure to pay a debt as ordered by a family law court.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. Please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,


Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

Do you have any additional questions that you would like me to address for you?

In case you would like a phone call to further discuss these issues you have raised, I will make that offer to you. You are certainly not obligated to accept a call offer, but many people do find it helpful for clarification purposes, as well as to allow them to ask additional questions.

If I have provided you with the information you asked for, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you?

Thanks in advance,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Is the matter civil or criminal? Do you have any links or documents about other cases of people getting arrested?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

This debt is a civil matter but the warrant may well be treated as a criminal matter. No, I do not have cases that you can read and see people extradited for contempt of family law court judges orders.

While the possibility of extradition is low---because it is contempt based on a debt, extradition is still possible but just less likely than if he was facing a felony charge.

He will be stopped at the border when they see the warrant pop up, and they will hold him while they check with the state at issue to determine if they want him held. If the state declined to extradite, he will be released.


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