What Is Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is what happens if a person defies a court’s authority, disrespects a court, or prevents the court from doing its job. Someone who does any of the above could face civil or criminal contempt of court. In cases of divorce, most instances where a spouse might cause a disturbance or ignore a court order will incur civil contempt of court.

A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in court to defy court orders. Indirect contempt of court, for example, could happen when a spouse is ordered to turn over financial records within 30 days and fails to do so.

Civil contempt sanctions aim to either restore the rights of the party who was wronged by the other party’s failure to comply with a court’s order or move an underlying proceeding along. These sanctions usually end when the party in contempt complies with the court order or when the case is resolved.

If someone refuses to comply, he or she could be incarcerated. However, unlike those charged with criminal contempt, people held in civil contempt are not given the same constitutional rights. They must be given notice of the contempt sanctions and an opportunity to be heard, but they are usually not guaranteed a jury trial.

If a person triggers contempt of court in a divorce case, he or she is unlikely to be looked on favorably by a judge in a court case. A person who incurs contempt of court during a child custody case, for example, will unlikely get full or even partial custody, as they may have demonstrated a lack of personal responsibility by failing to comply with court orders.

Talk to our skilled Katy divorce attorneys if you’re considering a divorce or are facing contempt of court. Adams Law can take a look at your case and offer you experienced recommendations about your best course of legal action.

Contact us at (281) 391-9237 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with us today!

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