Contempt of Court in Florida Family Law Cases

gavel and divorce decreeDuring a divorce, some of the most important factors are spousal support, and if children are involved, child support. These are two aspects that requires one spouse to pay the other to make sure that a standard of living is maintained. For spousal support, the supporting spouse may have to provide to maintain the standard of living, for vocational training, and more. For child support, payments are made to help buy clothing, food, pay for schooling, and more.

At some point of the family law process in Florida, the court will determine support and how it is to be paid each month. This is put in the divorce order and must be obeyed. If the supporting individual does not adhere to the order, they may be held in contempt of court. This means that punishments may be issued or enforcement of the order can be considered. At Robert Sparks Attorneys, our team of Florida family law lawyers are aware of contempt of court actions and we know the ways to help avoid them.

What Are the Possible Penalties?

If you are found to be in contempt of court for violating the court orders in a family law case, the judge may take legal action against you. This could include jail time, penalties, payment of attorney fees, and more.

The supported party would have the duty of showing that payments have not been made and that the supporter is not following court orders. The contempt actions are used to help enforce the court order and make the supporting party pay the amount determined during the court proceedings. These decrees are designated to divorcing couples for a reason and they should be taken seriously. If they are not, it could cause serious problems for whoever violates them.

Anyone who is found to be in contempt of court may also face enforcement actions for missing payments. These enforcement actions may leave you susceptible to wage garnishment, arrest warrants, liens, seizure of assets, driver’s license suspension, and more. These tactics are used to ensure that support payments are made on time and in full so the supported party or children have the necessary resources to maintain a standard of living and are cared for properly.

How Can I Prevent Contempt or Enforcement Actions?

The most effective way to avoid any contempt of court or enforcement actions is to make sure you adhere to the court order regarding all payments. If you are struggling to make the payments, it may be possible to seek a modification of spousal support or child support orders. It must be shown that there is a reasonable reason for inability to make the original payment in full and on time. This could include any of the following:

  • Reduction of income
  • Termination
  • Change in circumstances
  • Supported party remarries
  • Supported child’s needs have changed

Our Tampa family law attorneys understand this process and we want to help you reach the favorable outcome you desire. It is our goal to guide you through the process so that you have a full understanding of any contempt of court issues. Call us today to discuss your case with our team and learn how we may be able to help you.