How To obtain A Contempt Order
There is nothing more heartbreaking than two parents constantly battling over the care of their own children. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more as the divorce statistics rise in this country. In most cases divorced couples will end up having some kind of child custody or child support order put into place.
What happens, however, when the other party continually violates that court order and consequently causes havoc in you and your child’s life? Well the best thing that you can do to put a stop to this is to file a contempt order. This is letting the courts know that this individual is not adhering to the orders mandated by the court system and the violator can be penalized. The courts take child custody orders quite seriously. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act of 1997 requires participating states to honor and enforce custody orders, including those that originate in another state, if a parent takes his/her child and flees elsewhere.
What is most crucial when trying to obtain a contempt order is documentation, documentation, documentation! This cannot be stressed enough. Judges do not want to hear “he said, she said” kinds of stories. They want to know the facts and only the facts of how the original court order is being violated. It would serve you well to keep a journal or log of each violation with dates, times, and specific violation. For example, visitation order states father is to pick up child after school on Wednesdays and father was a ‘no show’ on such and such dates. Another example is per court order, mother is to return child no later than 6 p.m. on Sundays but continually brings child back at various times such as 8:30 or 9 o’clock. Document each occurrence with dates and times.
If a parent refuses to return a child against a court order there are times when the authorities will have to be called in. They will not get involved in these kinds of situations unless you can present an actual court order to them so keep your documents handy. You can’t just go to them and say “he took my child”. They need to know that a law has been broken or a court order has been violated so do your part and have the appropriate paperwork needed to seek help.
In regards to violation of child support orders, again, document is key. Keep an account of each and every payment or not-payment. Do not accept cash if possible as there will be no paper trail for this. If you want the courts to follow through on contempt charges, you will have to do the footwork. Their hands are tied unless you provide them with the necessary information they need to make a proper ruling. It may be a little more for you to do in addition to all your other parental obligations, but it can pay off big if you ever have to file for an Order of Contempt!
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