What Should You Do When A Spouse Acts In Contempt Of A Divorce-Related Court Order

After you decide to separate from your spouse, you file the papers, and the court finalizes the process. That said, the procedure involves various orders to guide you on how to relate with one another, share property, and care for your kids. However, there are cases where one spouse acts in ways contrary to the court order. This is known as contempt, and you can take legal action to ensure your errant ex-partner is living up to their obligations, per the court agreement. Here are some steps you can follow.

Filing the Motion of Contempt 

You will have to file a motion of contempt to start the process. However, the court doesn't record it as a new case. Also, you must submit your motion to the court and the county where you first divorced. Note that the court may ask you, as the moving party, to provide a declaration or affidavit. Before setting a hearing date, the judge will often sign an order to show cause. That said, you will only get the judge's signature when you or your lawyer complete the order. You should also follow proper channels when serving the defendant per the law of your state. Mostly, a sheriff's deputy or private process server might have to make personal contact with the defendant to deliver the information.

The Court Proceeding

Here, both sides present their facts and arguments to the judge during a formal hearing. In some jurisdictions, live testimony is allowed, while in others, it is not. Note that it is the responsibility of the moving party to prove the existence of a legitimate court order, the other party's knowledge of it, and willful violation. On the other hand, the individual charged with contempt has the right to respond to the allegations. Further, if the accused person has evidence, they can use it to their advantage. Then, after hearing all sides of the argument, the court will rule on whether or not the accused person committed contempt and hand down a ruling.

The Importance of a Lawyer

As you can see, most of these proceedings are complex, and you will need a lawyer's guidance to navigate them. Mostly, a legal advisor will help you file the motion, gather the evidence and prove contempt. More importantly, you can get your spouse to honor their obligations with the help of an attorney.

Divorce is a complicated process that needs a lot of guidance from legal professionals. So, take your time and speak to a divorce lawyer to get the ideal outcome from your proceedings.

Contact a local divorce lawyer to learn more.