Divorce and Contempt of Court: What You Need to Know

4 December 2020
 Categories: , Blog


When you get a divorce, the judge will issue a decree that legally ends your marriage contract. Part of that decree states you will each abide by the rulings within the decree. If one or both of you does not abide by those rulings, you can be found in contempt. You do not want this to happen, which is why you should consult your attorney if you are unsure about any part of the rulings within your divorce decree. Here are some things you need to know:

How Can You Be in Contempt of Court When You Get a Divorce?

There are several ways you or your spouse can be found in contempt of court when you get a divorce. Some of the more common ways include not paying your child support or alimony, not turning over any marital property detailed in the asset division portion of your divorce, and the like. You can also face contempt of court if you are not honest with the judge when you are in court. If you are asked a question by an attorney and you do not provide an honest answer, you can be charged with contempt of court.

What If Your Spouse Acted in Contempt of Court?

If your former spouse acted in a way that you believe deserves a contempt of court citation, you need to contact your divorce attorney to get the process started. Your attorney will help you gather the necessary evidence, which he or she should already have on hand from your divorce. A judge will not know about any issues that occur outside the courtroom, such as not paying child support or alimony. Therefore, you need your attorney to file the citation.

After the citation is filed, you will receive a court date and time for your hearing. You and your former spouse must appear. Your attorney will make sure to have your spouse served properly so he or she knows when to attend court. Your former spouse will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty of the contempt charge. If he or she does not appear in court, the judge will issue an arrest warrant for your former spouse.

What If You Receive the Contempt Citation?

If you are the spouse who is issued a citation for contempt of court, you need to contact your divorce attorney. Your attorney is there to help you through the case, let you know what your best options are, and help you get to a point in which you hopefully avoid time in jail along with costly penalties.