Quite often we’re contacted by individuals who are upset because their ex-spouse is not being compliant with the divorce decree. Either they’re not following the parenting time schedule or making child support payments or perhaps spousal maintenance payments hasn’t been made. In some circumstances perhaps a piece of property as in been transferred as it was ordered to be transferred as outlined in the decree.
When that happens, you have an opportunity to file a motion for contempt. It’s important to understand that contempt is not designed to punish people but rather to motivate performance. And, there’s a big distinction.
A lot of folks we speak with are under the presumption that we can file a motion for contempt and that’s going to result in their ex being sent to jail. That is a potential outcome if there’s non-performance. But, again, the crux of a contempt motion and the function of the court is to ensure and motivate performance.
So, if you are someone who’s in that position, what we can do is serve your ex with something called an order to show cause. And, what that is, is an order that we have asked the court to sign off on unilaterally without letting your ex-spouse know that we are pursuing a motion for contempt.
We outline the facts of your situation, give that to the judge, and then the judge has an opportunity to sign off on that.
We then serve your ex with those documents that mandate that they make an appearance before the court. We all appear before the judge and have a conversation about what is or is not happening.
And, then ultimately the court will impose certain conditions on your ex to ensure that they perform. And, it’s only if they don’t perform as ordered by the court that the court could financially penalize them or ultimately could have them serve some sort of a jail sentence.