You do not want to be in contempt of court.
When there is contempt, it means you have broken or violated a court order. Also, your violation affected someone else’s rights.
In Texas Family Law, after a court renders a judgment, the parties (both parents or conservators) must comply. Your obedience is very important. Make sure you cross your ‘t’ and dot your ‘i’.
Generally, when you or the other person disobey court order, you can file an enforcement action in court. After presenting your evidence, if the court finds that there was a violation, then you must face the consequences.
What is Contempt?
The legal dictionary defines contempt as “willful disobedience or open disrespect of the orders, authority, or dignity of a court or judge acting in a judicial capacity by disruptive language or conduct or by failure to obey the court’s orders.”
Contempt is Willful Disobedience to a Court Order
So, you must first show that the other party willfully disobey. Show the court the violations in reference to the court order. For example, you want to enforce a visitation order and you want the Judge to grant civil fine against the other party, along with jail time. First, your pleading must show the court where the disobedient party disregarded the court’s order.
The words of the document (order) should be specific enough for the court to enforce.
Did he fail to release the child to you during your time with your child? Did he move without telling you his new residence?
Where Do I File?
You begin your enforcement action in a court of “continuing exclusive jurisdiction”. In other words, if your court order is a divorce decree, you may file your motion in the court that signed your decree.
What are some grounds for filing an enforcement action?
Grounds for possible contempt in family law include:
- Failing to comply with child visitation agreement
- Refusing to follow the child custody provisions such as geographic restriction
- Refusing to pay child support
- Violating a restraining order
- Refusing to obey an injunction, such as not hiding the child
- Refusing to pay a debt or money judgment
- Failing to pay attorney’s fees
- Not following the agreement on division of marital properties
A good rule of thumb is: if it is in your court order, signed by the Judge, and specific enough to enforce, then follow it.
Consequences of Contempt
Should the court find you in contempt of its order, you may face different consequences.
- Pay a fine ($500 for each violation)
- The other party may get more visitation time to make up for any lost time (Visitation)
- Jail time (more common with child support enforcement)
- Other remedies given to the Attorney General of Texas
- Retroactive child support
- Pay a bond
- Pay the other side’s attorney’s fees
If you are facing an enforcement action, you need to talk to an experienced family attorney. You don’t have to figure it out alone; contact a legal professional. (832) 529-1255.
Help: Texas Family lawyer, Houston Child Custody Lawyer, Affordable Houston Lawyer.