Friday, January 25, 2013
Contempt of Court - Boise Divorce Attorney (208) 472-2383
Contempt of CourtBeing held in contempt of court is not a legal situation unique to family law. You can be held in contempt of court by any judge in any court. But what exactly is contempt of court and how does it apply to family law?
What is Contempt?
Whenever a judge orders you to do something, you are required to do it just as the judge tells you. If you do not, you can be held in contempt of court, meaning the judge can punish you for not doing what you were told. Often, like in the case of divorce law, the other side brings a motion against you telling the judge that you did not comply with his or her order and asking them to hold you in contempt.
Contempt in a Family Law Court
As a Boise Divorce Attorney, I see contempt cases all the time. There can be many different reasons people, within the Family Law Court, are held in contempt. Often in a court order, for example, a person will be ordered to sell or refinance the community home within a certain time period. If they fail to comply, the other side can bring contempt charges against them. What if, however, the party who was ordered to act tried their best to sell the house but was unable due to market conditions? Or, what if their credit was ruined in the course of the divorce and they could not qualify for refinancing? These are very common situations I see as a family law lawyer. Like so many things in the law, there isn't a cut and dry answer. A judge may say, "you didn't comply" period and "you go to jail" More likely, however, a judge will look at the circumstances surrounding the contempt. They might look at the effort you used to sell the house or why your credit was bad. Did the other side do something to hinder your credit? Was your credit bad before the divorce? The judge will also look at whether you were ordered to do something or you agreed to do something. That little difference between being ordered and agreeing can be huge! Sometimes the judge will also look at something known as "clean hands". Has the other party violated the order just as much? Much like the kettle calling the pot black!
Contempt is a very serious charge that can result in jail time. You should never take it lightly. While you may think you have a valid justification for your non-compliance the judge may not. Judges do not like to see their orders ignored!
If you have a divorce or family law issue and you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, give us a call, (208) 472-2383. You will be glad you did.