After a lengthy divorce, you should rightfully expect that your spouse will adhere to the demands set forth by a Florida court. When your spouse does not, there are steps that you can take to ensure that he/she does.
Contempt Cases Under Divorce
During divorces, divorce courts outline specific requirements for each participating party. Orders such as child support, alimony and even basic asset distribution arrangements are considered legally binding. This means that divorced spouses must comply with the orders of the divorce or they may be held in contempt.
Contempt, in divorce proceedings, is the term used to describe deliberate inactions and intentional failure to follow court guidelines. To be found guilty of contempt, there must be compelling evidence provided that clearly proves that the spouse deliberately disobeyed a court order.
- The spouse must be fully aware of the order and understand its meaning
- The spouse must have had the ability to follow the court order, and knowingly disobeyed or failed to comply with the court order
- The spouse does not have a legitimate excuse or explanation for violating the court order
In order to be held in civil contempt, the aforementioned factors must be proven. The reasons for noncompliance is the most important aspect of contempt proceedings. While contempt in divorce cases can lead to excessive fines, jail sentencing, and additional payment toward the opposing spouse’s attorney fees, the purpose of contempt is not to punish the spouse for violating the court orders. Rather, it is used as a strategy to ensure that the divorce stipulations are executed effectively and that each spouse complies.
How Contempt Works
Attempt to resolve the issue on your own.
Before filing a motion of contempt with the court, you should attempt to resolve the issue on your own. Court fees can be expensive and contempt proceedings are sometimes lengthy and complicated. Thus, we recommend that you communicate with your divorced spouse. Often, he/she may have had legitimate reasons for violating the court order. If there is a continuous violation of the court order, inform your divorced spouse through writing that if he/she continues to disregard the order, then you will file a motion of contempt. This simple warning can urge your divorced spouse to work cooperatively with you, especially since that is the entire purpose for contempt.
File a motion of contempt.
If your divorced spouse continues to violate the court order after receiving your warning, you should proceed with the contempt process. File a motion of contempt with the court in a timely and appropriate manner. Wait for a date for a scheduled hearing.
Contact an attorney.
You should contact an experienced divorce lawyer immediately. In order for contempt cases to be successful, it must be proven that the divorced spouse knowingly violated the order without any legitimate justifications. This can be difficult to prove, but divorce lawyers can help you through the process by undergoing investigations, research and gathering compelling evidence, testimonial support and proof.
The court will then determine how to handle the case. It may come in the form of civic and criminal penalties, or there may be a modification of arrangements.
Divorce Lawyers in Miami, FL
If you need to file a motion of contempt, or if you have been found guilty of contempt, you may need the assistance of divorce lawyers. At the Law Office of Theodore H. Enfield, P.A., our attorneys can make the process easier for both spouses after a divorce. Contact our firm today for a free initial consultation.