Portland Contempt Attorneys
Family law court orders are legally binding and must be obeyed. Contempt of court occurs when an individual intentionally decides to disobey a court order. Being held in contempt will result in consequences, such as paying a fine, serving jail time, and other actions, such as allowing make-up parenting time. An individual will receive a warning or notice if he/she has been charged with contempt.
In family law, an individual can be held in contempt for violating a child support, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and/or domestic violence protective order (DVPO). Some additional examples of contempt may include but are not limited to the following:
- Refusing to pay child support
- Violating a restraining order
- Disallowing your co-parent visitation rights as instructed in a parenting plan
- Refusing to return a child to your co-parent after a visitation period ends
You can be held in contempt of court for an action or inaction.
Types of Contempt
There are two types of contempt: civil and criminal. Civil contempt aims to coerce the defendant into obeying the initial court order that was established. Criminal contempt seeks to preserve the court’s authority and punish the individual for intentionally disobeying the court order.
How to Prove Contempt
You must show the court the following to prove that an individual is in contempt:
- A valid, written court order was in effect beforehand and signed by a judge
- Proof that the individual understood and knew to obey the court order
- Evidence that the individual violated the court order
- Proof that the individual failed to comply with the order
What Are the Consequences of Violating a Court Order?
If you violate a court order, you may be held in contempt of court and charged with a crime. Essentially, you will be held liable for your disobedience. The consequences you may face vary according to the type of court order you violated. If you violated a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), you could be faced with a fine and up to 6 months of jail.
If you know you may have to violate a court order as you cannot meet its terms, you should be proactive and seek permission from the court to modify the order. For example, if you cannot afford child support payments due to a serious financial change in your life, you can file an appeal to petition the court for a modification.
What Can You Do If You Are Found in Contempt of Court?
If you are charged with contempt of court for violating an order, you have the right to be notified of the charges against you as well as the right to an attorney. It would be beneficial to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney before attending a hearing to testify on the matter.
Contempt of court is a serious allegation. As such, you may need to appear before a judge and stand trial to avoid punishment. Your attorney will be able to help you move forward with a defense, which you will need to explain why you were unable to fully comply with the established court order.
Secure a Consultation With an Experienced Attorney at Our Firm
As each family law court order varies, it is important to secure the knowledge and legal experience of a reputable attorney to prove contempt or defend yourself if charged with contempt of an order. At Levine Law Center LLC, we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and promoting their interests, whenever possible. We offer flexible payment plans and a team-oriented approach to ensure you have the support you deserve.