Contempt of court order is a legal remedy that is available to either party in a family law case after an order or a judgment is entered when the other party fails to comply with the order. These orders, may include provisions about what the parties are to do or refrain from doing. These orders may arise in several different areas, including, for example, spousal or child support, child custody and visitation, or certain division of assets.
In California family law cases contempt of court is treated in substantially the same manner as a criminal misdemeanor case. In cases of contempt, the burden is on the petitioning party to prove the circumstances of the contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. The person filing the contempt motion will be required to prove that:
If the motion is for something other than support or attorney fees, then the person filing the motion also has to prove that the other party had the ability to comply with the order. This is sometimes a very difficult thing to prove.
Most of time, both parties of a divorce are present when the court orders are signed, however in some cases, one of the parties is not present. In this case, the party that was not present must be properly served with the court order. There are times that a Judge will say that the order is effective immediately even though the written order has not been finalized. I most cases, this may not be sufficient to enforce the order by a contempt motion. It is always best to get the order written and finalized as soon as possible after the Judge makes the oral orders.
If you are being accused of contempt, you have several rights, including the following:
If you have a court order (sometimes called a Findings and Order After Hearing) or a judgment and you feel that the other party is willfully violating the orders, or if you are being accused of contempt of court for allegedly violating a court order, contact the TDC Family Law. Tracy is a Certified Family Law Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California and has held this certification since December of 2002.
Tracy has also been named as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers from 2009 through 2016. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Prior to same-sex marriage, any issue you could possibly imagine regarding divorce has been seen and settled through legal proceedings. The truth is that due to precedent and previously settled law, in many cases, when a divorce goes to court, a lot of the final settlement is based on pre-determined formulas based on income, number of kids, ages, etc.
Same-sex divorce is quite literally unchartered territory. States that are open to same-sex marriage, such as California, New York and Massachusetts are working to ensure that laws keep pace with this new paradigm. In a lot of states that are hostile to the idea of same-sex marriage, progress on updating laws is either slow or non-existent.
It is going to take time for new laws to be drafted to take same-sex couples into account. In some cases, current law may not be relevant in same-sex cases. In certain circumstances, while the law is relevant, there are no precedents set, so judges decisions, which hold a lot of weight in the American Common Law system, are going to be looked at very carefully. As each decision will be looked at so closely and possibly be used as a guideline for future cases with similar circumstances, judges will take more time in making what would have otherwise been an easy or routine decision to make. Progress is never easy, and it is hardest on those that are blazing a legal trail.
In any divorce proceeding it is vital to keep perspective and it is extremely important to take care of your own needs as to not allow your emotions to overwhelm you. It is also imperative to have the proper representation from a lawyer who will work with your best interests at heart. In the area of same-sex divorce, the case might not only be against your spouse, but against the system as well. As new laws are developed and new precedents set, you need someone who knows how to navigate the waters of divorce. For a free 45-minute consultation contact Tracy Duell-Cazes, a state bar association certified family law specialist. Tracy will work with you through the process of your divorce to make it as easy as possible,