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How to fight contempt of court

Customer Question
How to fight contempt of court
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
11/23/2017
Family Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Attorney with experience in family law.
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Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

There are a few different ways to fight a contempt order:

  1. You didn't have knowledge of the order. That sometimes happens when someone requests contempt ex parte and they don't serve you, but it's not common.
  2. You did comply with the order. In family law cases, that frequently comes up when each parent interprets the court order differently. In that scenario, it's often possible to get the judge to clarify/explain the order without finding that either parent violated it.
  3. You lacked the ability to comply with the court order.

The third defense may be the most common one. If I'm ordered to pay $1,000/month in child support, but I get hit by a car and am not working for 6 months, I might not have $1,000 to give, whether I want to or not. Circumstances can sometimes change after a court order is entered, in a way that means a parent can't do what they're supposed to do. Other examples would be when one parent gets a pay cut or a change in work hours that makes paying support or exercising visitation difficult. What sometimes helps in this situation, in addition to fighting the contempt, is to file a Motion to Modify, asking the judge to change the order to something that you will be able to comply with. Courts typically don't like to set people up for failure, so if you know you can't do what you're supposed to, and the judge agrees, you may be able to get it changed.

The fourth option is to explain to the judge that, even if you did violate the order, you had a very good reason, such as to protect the safety of your children. In that scenario, the judge has discretion to say that you are in contempt, but to choose not to penalize you because you did it with good intentions. I

f you can tell me a bit about your situation, I can give you more information, but those are the most common ways to defend a contempt order.

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Family Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 6 months ago

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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