Contempt of Court in California Family Court
A divorce might be the final dissolution of a marriage, but it carries with it several court orders that might remain in effect for years, such as those affecting child custody, child support, or the payment of spousal support (alimony). The court retains jurisdiction over these orders, including the power to force compliance or punish noncompliance. One powerful tool at the court’s disposal is contempt of court. Contempt of court in family court is a serious matter, carrying consequences that can significantly impact the lives of those involved. If you find yourself facing contempt of court, or if your ex is violating court orders in Los Angeles or the San Gabriel Valley, contact Blasser Law for guidance and representation from a dedicated and compassionate team of experienced Claremont family law attorneys.
What Is Contempt of Court in California Family Law?
Contempt of court occurs when an individual willfully disobeys a legal court order. In the context of family law, this can encompass a variety of actions, from failing to pay child or spousal support to violating custody agreements. The courts treat compliance with orders seriously because these decisions are foundational to the structure and well-being of families post-divorce or separation.
There are two main types of contempt in California family court proceedings: Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt.
- Civil Contempt: Often applied to enforce the payment of support or compliance with visitation schedules. The primary goal here is compliance, with the possibility of fines or jail time as an inducement to comply.
- Criminal Contempt: This can be invoked when a party’s behavior is seen as an offense against the court’s authority. This may result in more severe penalties, including jail time, as it is designed to punish the wrongdoing and uphold the court’s integrity.
Grounds for Filing a Contempt Action
In Claremont and throughout California, a contempt action can be filed for violations such as:
- Non-payment of child or spousal support
- Disobeying custody or visitation orders
- Not transferring property as ordered
- Failure to complete court-ordered programs or classes
The Contempt Process in California Family Courts
- Filing the Charge: The process begins with the filing of a charge, specifically outlining the alleged contemptuous act. Documents to file include an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Contempt.
- The Hearing: The accused individual has the right to a hearing, where both parties can present evidence and testimony.
- Burden of Proof: The burden of proof lies on the petitioner to establish that a lawful court order was in place, the accused knew the order, and willfully failed to comply.
- Potential Outcomes: If found in contempt, consequences may include fines, mandatory community service, or even jail time.
Defending Against a Contempt Charge
A person accused of contempt is entitled to a robust defense. Defenses may include:
- Lack of willful intent
- Inability to comply with the order
- Ambiguity in the court order
- Compliance with the order to the best of one’s ability
The Role of Legal Representation
Legal representation is invaluable when dealing with contempt of court. Whether you’re seeking to file a charge or defend against one, a knowledgeable attorney from Blasser Law can provide essential guidance. We help clients understand the complexities of the law, prepare necessary documentation, represent them in court, and work tirelessly to protect their rights and interests.
Why Choose Blasser Law?
The family law attorneys at Blasser Law have a deep-rooted understanding of California family law. Our lawyers are dedicated to delivering personalized legal services tailored to the unique circumstances of each case. With a history of diligently serving clients in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles, you can count on us to help you successfully navigate the intricacies of contempt proceedings in California family court.
Contact Blasser Law in Claremont for Help With Contempt of Court Proceedings in Los Angeles or the San Gabriel Valley
Contempt of court in California family law is not to be taken lightly. The law of contempt underscores the importance of adhering to court orders designed to maintain fairness and balance in family dynamics post-legal proceedings. Blasser Law is your partner in navigating these challenges, ensuring that the law’s complexities do not overshadow your rights or the well-being of your family. Contact us to discuss your case and find the support you need to approach contempt charges with confidence and clarity. Call 877-927-2181 to speak with our knowledgeable and dedicated California family law attorneys.