The Role of Contempt in Enforcing Divorce Agreements

Getting divorced from your partner can be complicated and comes with a whirlwind of emotions. The two of you may come to various legally binding agreements regarding ownership of assets, financial support, and child custody. If you cannot reach agreements, then the parties may have a contested hearing at which the Court enters Orders requiring the parties to take specific actions. Neglecting to follow through with any of these Orders is illegal and may result in a party being found in contempt of Court.

Learn about the role of contempt in enforcing Orders of the Court entered following a contested hearing or by adopting as an Order of the Court divorce agreements reached by the parties.

What Is Contempt?

An individual may receive a charge of contempt if they are non-compliant to a court order or post decree agreement that has been adopted by the Court. If one party files a motion for contempt, it’s often after completing the divorce case because the other individual fails to complete a task they agreed to and is therefore failing to comply with an Order of the Court.

For instance, one partner may have to sell the family home and provide the other party with half the money from the sale. Filing a motion for contempt provides a remedy to a party to the agreement adopted by the Court, or Order of the Court entered following a contested hearing by legally requiring the non-compliant party to respond. 

When Can You File a Motion?

You can file a contempt of court motion against your ex-spouse anytime they fail to meet the Orders of the Court, which they are aware of, and have the present ability to comply with. A party may also indirectly disobey by displaying inappropriate behavior or failing to complete paperwork. You may also accuse the other party of contempt of court if they fail to pay child or spousal support or do not follow through with their end of the child custody agreement.

The Impact of a Contempt Charge

If one party fails to follow through with legally binding agreements that have become an Order of the Court, you can file a contempt of court charge. This requires the non-compliant party to appear in court and claim their innocence. Skipping the court meeting can result in jail time or serious fines for the non-compliant party, depending on the reason for the contempt of court charge.

When the court finds an individual guilty of contempt, judges often require the party to fulfill the needed duty—pay child support, split assets, etc.—within a set time. If the non-compliant party still fails to fulfill their agreement, they may receive a financial penalty or jail time.

Hire a Reliable Attorney

Knowing and understanding all the laws surrounding your case isn’t always easy. If your partner fails to follow through with your divorce agreement, it’s best to contact a lawyer for assistance in filing a motion. 

Jones Law Firm, PC, has an incredible team who can help with your contempt of court in divorce proceedings in Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding area. We’ll work with you to create the best strategy for moving forward. Invest in your future with help from a lawyer that has your best interest at heart!


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).