There are multiple factors to consider when settling a divorce. Whether the divorcing parties are in agreement or not, the temporary and final orders submitted by the judge become legally binding. If you or your ex fail to follow these rules, you could face contempt charges. Here's what you should know about this process.
4 FAQ About Contempt Charges During Divorce
What is contempt of court?
When a judge makes a ruling, the parties involved are legally required to follow it. If you disobey a judge’s orders, the court has the right to hold you in contempt.
The consequences of this charge could involve jail time or a fine. The severity of the judgment depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Can you charge an ex for non-compliance?
Contempt is the primary method of enforcing a court order in family law. In divorce cases, the reasons for being held in contempt usually revolve around finances and assets, including:
Spousal support (maintenance)
Financial obligations, like mortgage payments
Non-compliance with visitation orders also qualifies.
If your ex fails to comply with any of these decrees, your attorney can file a Motion for Contempt to have them charged. The motion needs to outline each item of the order that they've failed to comply with.
What is the contempt charge process like in Texas?
Once the contempt motion is filed, it's served to the defendant, or party at fault. There's a minimum 21-day waiting period between serving the motion and the hearing date.
In court, the claimant must showcase the other party's non-compliance, while the defendant has the opportunity to explain their side. The judge will then rule on whether the defendant should be held in contempt or not.
What orders are exempt from contempt enforcement?
Legally, the courts can't imprison someone for defaulting on a public debt. For that reason, a judge can't hold a person in contempt of court for failing to pay a debt-related order of a divorce decree. However, child support isn't included in this exception because it's viewed as a legal duty and not a debt.
If you're dealing with a non-compliant ex-spouse, reach out to Ronald D. Zipp, Attorney at Law to learn more about your options. This law firm has provided residents across the Greater San Antonio area with legal representation and guidance for over 40 years. The attorney offers assistance with all areas of family law, including divorce and custody, to clients throughout New Braunfels, TX. Review his services online, and book your consultation at (830) 629-5600.