When you get a divorce, you and the other party come to various agreements that must be followed once they are adopted as orders by the Court. The Court has the power to enforce all orders entered in a dissolution of marriage or allocation of parental responsibilities proceeding. Refusing to sell specified assets or make spousal maintenance (alimony) payments can lead to legal repercussions. In Colorado, you can file for contempt of court if the other party willfully refuses to follow through with their agreement or order of the Court. In this guide, we will explain how to file a motion for contempt in a family law case and why you may need to file.
Reasons To File Contempt
You may need to file for contempt in Court if the other party knowingly disobeys court orders or refuses to perform required duties. You can only file a Motion for Contempt when your ex-partner willfully violates court orders that they are aware of. Breaking a verbal agreement is not the same as disobeying legally binding decrees.
Failing To Make Legal Payments
You can file a motion if your ex-partner fails to make payments for child support or maintenance. You may also file a Motion for Contempt if they make partial payments without reasonable cause.
Failing To Meet Divorce Agreements
Likewise, you may need to file a charge of contempt if your partner refuses to sell specific assets or provide you with half of the money; this depends on your legal agreement. Remember that this concerns shared assets or those laid out in the final divorce agreement or order of the Court if your case was contested.
Failing To Meet Custody Agreements
You may also file a motion if your ex-partner fails to care for or see the children on their appointed days or refuses to return your child. Moreover, you may need to file for contempt if you two have shared legal custody and your ex-partner makes major decisions about your child without consulting you in non-emergency situations. In an emergency, they may need to make decisions on the spot, but they should inform you as soon as possible.
Contact Jones Law Firm PC for a contempt of court lawyer if you do not know whether you have reason to file this legal charge.
Steps to Filing for Contempt
If you have reason to file for contempt, you will need to follow a few steps:
- Hiring an attorney
- Filing the court forms
- Serving the accused party
- Attending your court hearing
In the following sections, we will go into further detail on these steps so you know how to file a Motion for Contempt in a family law case.
Hire an Attorney
While hiring a lawyer is not required, having someone on your side is always a good idea. Your lawyer can assist you as you fill out key documents such as:
- Motion and Affidavit for Citation of Contempt of Court
- Order to Issue Citation and Citation to Show Cause
Your attorney can also ensure you include all essential paperwork when filing a motion with the court. As you fill out the documents, be specific with the issue and the order that the other party is violating. For instance, if the other party disobeyed the custody agreement and refused to care for your kids on their appointed day, detail what happened and when.
An attorney can provide mediation between you and your ex-spouse. If the accused party complies, you may be able to avoid the stress of going to court for a hearing.
File the Court Forms
Once you and your legal team create the Motion for Contempt, you need to submit it to a Court clerk where the original court order was issued. After the judge reviews your forms, the clerk will provide you with a day and time to appear in court.
It is best to make copies of the order so that you and the other party can each have one—the court keeps the original document. After doing this, send a copy to your ex-partner in order to inform them of the legal proceedings.
When filing an order, you may have to pay to create copies of the document, a Transcript of Judgement, and a Certification Fee.
Serve the Accused Party
Once you have filled out and filed the orders, a private process server or sheriff in the accused party’s county will “serve” them with a copy of the Order to Issue Citation and Citation to Show Cause. This informs your ex-partner of the legal issue at hand. Personal service must be completed on the other party at least 21 days prior to the scheduled hearing.
Attend Your Court Hearing
Both parties must attend the court hearing. Refusing to show up can hinder your case, even if you filed the order. If the accused party fails to attend the court hearing, they may face legal fines or have a warrant issued for their arrest.
On the other hand, if you file the order but fail to show up in court, the judge may dismiss your case. Occasionally, the judge will allow the case to proceed if you filed and only your lawyer shows up in court, but this does not always happen, so attend your hearing.
The Consequences of Contempt Charges
The consequences of a guilty contempt charge depend on the type of contempt. In remedial contempt, penalties require the other party to follow the court order and may include fees or jail time. On the other hand, punitive contempt penalties come into play when a party willfully displays inappropriate or bad behavior; outcomes can also include fines and jail time.
Protect Your Rights
It is always best to hire a lawyer when you file a motion and prepare to go to court. Laws are complex, and going to court can be stressful. When you have an attorney at your side, you are more likely to reach your desired outcomes for the case. As you search for a lawyer, here are some key things to consider:
- Price of service
- Area of expertise
- Level of experience
- Law firm reviews
Additionally, you will need to hire a family law attorney to handle all matters about contempt during a divorce case, legal separation, or child custody.
Contact Jones Law Firm, PC
Jones Law Firm, PC has resolved family law cases in Colorado since 2000 and has an in-depth understanding of Colorado laws. Whether you need to file for contempt of court or are facing charges, our team can represent you. Schedule your free consultation today with a lawyer who will stand by your side and help you achieve your legal goals.