When one party fails to comply with a court order or an executed settlement agreement, this matter often involves the filing of an action for contempt. Often these issues involve failing to pay child support or make alimony payments, failing to transfer property or pay expenses in accordance with a settlement agreement. It can also involve issues of a party failing to honor the terms of visitation schedules or the general custody provisions.

Ms. McCarthy can help you determine whether the conduct of the opposing party involves contempt and help you determine what course of action to file. Often, there is a need for modification in conjunction with a contempt action. Either way Ms. McCarthy can often assist her clients in rectifying the behavior of the opposing party and succeed in collecting attorneys fees on behalf of her clients. Thus, Ms. McCarthy is consistently dedicated to providing meaningful resolutions to her clients and in enforcing their legal rights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.      Will my spouse go to jail if the court finds contempt?

It is possible. The judge has broad authority to sanction a party for failing to abide by the terms of a court order. Ordinarily, a judge will apply less severe sanctions, such as a fine, first. However, depending on the circumstances of the case and the nature of the contempt it is within the power of the court to order a party incarcerated in a local jail pending compliance with court’s order.

2.      What are valid defenses to a contempt action?

The courts will usually examine the party’s willfulness in failing to abide by the court order. Often, a party opposing a contempt motion will argue a change of circumstances which have warranted a change or modification of the order. However, any requests for modification should be filed as soon as possible.  Also, a party may argue that the original order or settlement agreement should be set aside as a result of fraud, mistake, or a nonamendable defect. An attorney can carefully examine the language of an order for issues of vagueness and ambiguity which could serve as a defense to a contempt charge.