Family law cases are often emotionally charged and can be complicated, leading to the need for court orders to resolve disputes. These orders, such as parenting time schedules, child support payments, and spousal support payments, are legally binding and require compliance by both parties.
If you violate a family court order in Illinois, it can result in a finding of contempt and lead to significant consequences. This blog post will explore what contempt is, provide examples of contempt in family law cases, and discuss the consequences of violating court orders. Our experienced family law attorney, Tamir Tommalieh, is here to help guide you through your court order process and shed some light on any questions or concerns you may have.
Call Tommalieh Law today at (708) 232-0017 and get your case started with a free consultation!
What is Contempt When You Violate a Family Court Order?
Contempt is defined as willful disobedience of a court order or an act that interferes with the court's ability to enforce its orders. There are two types of contempt: direct and indirect. Direct contempt occurs in the presence of the court, while indirect contempt occurs outside the court's presence. In family law cases, contempt is typically used to enforce court orders related to Orland Hills child custody, access to children, and support payments.
Examples of Contempt in Family Law Cases
One common example of contempt in family law cases is a parent who violates a parenting time schedule. If a parenting plan specifies that one parent has custody during a certain period of time, the other parent is required to follow that schedule. If the non-custodial parent fails to follow the parenting time schedule, the custodial parent can file for contempt.
Another example is a parent who fails to make child support payments on time. Failure to pay child support can result in a finding of contempt and possible jail time. Also, a parent can be in contempt for not paying spousal support payments. Call today to speak to a knowledgeable spousal support attorney and get a free consultation!
Also, a parent who interferes with the other parent's access to children would be in contempt. If a court order states that one parent has certain visitation rights and the other parent willfully denies it, then they could be found in contempt. Usually, the court will issue a warning to the non-compliant parent before proceeding with contempt.
Discovery Violations in Divorce and Family Law Cases
Discovery is the process by which each party in a divorce or family law case requests information from the other party. Discovery violations occur when one party fails to provide the requested information or fails to provide it in a timely manner. Discovery violations can result in a finding of contempt and sanctions, such as payment of attorney's fees or exclusion of evidence at trial.
The process for a contempt finding starts with the filing of a petition for a rule to show cause. The petitioner must present compelling evidence of willful disobedience or interference. Once the court has determined that there is a basis for contempt, it will hold a hearing on the matter. If the contemnor is found to be in contempt, the court can impose sanctions as punishment.
Other Violations of Court Orders in Family Law Cases
Other violations of court orders in family law cases include failure to pay spousal support or interference with visitation rights. Spousal support payments must be made on time and in the amount specified by the court.
Failure to pay spousal support can result in a finding of contempt and possible jail time. Interference with visitation rights occurs when one parent prevents the other parent from seeing their child during their scheduled parenting time. Interference with visitation rights can also result in a finding of contempt and possible sanctions.
Criminal and Civil Penalties for Contempt
A finding of contempt can lead to both criminal and civil penalties. Criminal contempt proceedings may result in a criminal contempt hearing, where the contemnor can be sentenced to jail time or fines. Civil contempt proceedings can result in civil contempt sanctions, such as a fine or payment of attorney’s fees.
The court also has the option of using a period of time, known as an “indirect contempt” or “civil contempt sentence,” to motivate the contemnor to comply with the court order. This is sometimes referred to as a “compliance contemnor.” The court may also impose sanctions, such as an order to pay attorney's fees or a fine, in addition to indirect contempt.
In cases involving child support payments, the court may also order a parent to pay an additional penalty if they are found in contempt. This is known as a “support arrearage” and can include interest charges, attorney's fees, or other costs associated with the case. In addition to these legal consequences, being found in contempt can damage a person's reputation and cause them to lose credibility in future legal proceedings. It is best to contact an experienced child support attorney in Orland Hills for more information.
Financial Consequences of Indirect Civil Contempt and other Non-compliance
In addition to legal consequences, violating a court order can also have financial consequences. Indirect civil contempt, such as failure to pay child support, can result in wage garnishment, liens on property, and seizure of assets. Other non-compliance, such as failure to comply with discovery requests, can result in payment of the other party's attorney's fees and costs associated with compelling compliance.
Attorney's Fees Associated with Violating a Court Order
In family law cases, attorney's fees can quickly add up. If one party files a motion for contempt and is successful, the court may order the non-compliant party to pay the other party's attorney's fees. This can result in a significant financial burden for the non-compliant party. Additionally, if the non-compliant party is required to attend an actual contempt proceeding or file a petition for rule to show cause, they may be responsible for their own attorney's fees.
If you are found in contempt of court for violating a family court order in Illinois, you may be ordered to pay the other party's attorney's fees associated with filing the contempt action. This is often the case in situations where the other party had to take legal action to enforce the court order or to compel compliance.
In addition to the potential of having to pay the other party's attorney's fees, you will also likely be responsible for paying your own legal costs associated with defending against the contempt charge. This can include fees for your own attorney, court costs, and any expenses associated with gathering evidence to support your defense.
It's important to note that if you are found to be in contempt of court multiple times, the court may order you to pay additional penalties, including increased fines, community service, and even jail time. Therefore, it is essential to work with an experienced family law attorney to help you defend against any allegations of contempt and to ensure that you are in compliance with all court orders.
Contact Tommalieh Law Today!
At Tommalieh Law, we understand the stress and anxiety that come with family law disputes, and we're here to help. Our team of dedicated attorneys has the knowledge, experience, and passion to fight for your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
So if you're facing a contempt charge or need assistance with any other family law matter, don't wait – contact us today at (708) 232-0017 to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward resolving your legal issue. With Tommalieh Law by your side, you can rest assured that you have a trusted partner to guide you through this challenging time.