When the court issues an order, it is much more than mere suggestion. A court order is actually a directive to act in a specific manner. In a domestic law situation, the court order may command that a party pay child support or spousal support payments. It may also command that a parent make a child available for visitation or continue providing health insurance coverage. When a party decides to act in a manner that is contrary to the judge’s directive, they are in violation of the court order and a judge may find him or her to be in contempt of court. This is a serious finding that can lead to various types of punishments. With the assistance of a Cook County domestic law attorney, you can initiate a contempt case if the other party to your agreement is not in compliance.
Types of Contempt
There are numerous situations that may lead to a contempt determination, including:
- A noncustodial parent fails to pay court ordered child support;
- A former spouse fails to pay spousal support;
- A former spouse refuses to allow the sale of marital property;
- A former spouse refuses to vacate the marital home as ordered;
- A parent refuses to maintain child support as ordered by the court; and
- A parent refuses to facilitate or allow parenting time as ordered by the court.
Filing a Court Petition
When these actions occur, you have the option of asking for the court’s assistance. A judge can take steps to force the other party’s compliance with the court order. To start the process, you must file the appropriate petition with the court. You must also notify the other party of the filing and the scheduled court appearance.
At your court appearance, you must prove that the other party was under a court order to act in a specific manner and did not do so, without adequate reason to refuse the order. Presenting this evidence can prove challenging, so it is advisable that you secure the services of an experienced domestic relations attorney to assist you in your case.
Upon hearing your case, the judge can move forward in a number of ways including:
- The judge may decide that the party did follow the order and dismiss your petition without any additional action;
- The judge may decide that the court order is unclear, which excuses the action or inaction of the other party. In this situation, the judge may dismiss the petition, but also take steps to clear up the order’s discrepancies; and
- The judge may determine that you proved your case and find the other party in contempt. In this situation, the judge may issue a punishment for the party’s behavior, such as a fine or possible jail time. The judge may also determine an appropriate remedy and issue an additional order to the violating party.
Work with an Illinois Family Attorney
If your former spouse or parent of your child is not following the orders of the court, contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss whether a contempt case is appropriate. The attorneys of SAM Law Office, LLC are knowledgeable and capable of assisting you with your Cook County domestic law action.