How To Pursue Contempt Charges Against an Ex-Spouse


Going through a separation and divorce is a tough time, and it may be even harder when you realize that your ex-spouse isn’t following the orders of the judge. This means that you can have the other party held in contempt, but it takes another round of legal work to enforce consequences.

You will need to hire legal help, though you would want a lawyer familiar with family court rather than a criminal law firm in Columbia MD to handle your case. The following may happen when you pursue legal action.

Establish a Valid Order Exists

Before you can establish contempt has occurred, there must be a valid court order on file. It could be a divorce decree or settlement judgment issued. It could a temporary restraining order or another issue that would be resolved later. So long as the issue has been ordered through the court system, it can be enforced by the courts.

Prove the Disobedience to the Order

The issue of contempt is only charged when there is credible evidence or circumstances that should disobedience to the court’s order. One of the more common contempt charges in family court is the failure of payment for either alimony or child support. The spouse or ex-spouse is often the one reporting disobedience because of the direct connection to the situation.

Inform the Court of Violations

In an ex parte hearing, those who have knowledge of the violation meet with the judge. Though you may have your lawyer present, the offending party does not have to be present. Only the party bringing the complaint is heard first, as it gives the judge the ability to weed out frivolous cases of contempt or establish a ground to pursue a ruling.

If a judge decides that there is enough evidence to move forward, a full hearing may be ordered. At this point, your legal counsel will pursue restitution and compliance through the court.

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