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What is a motion of contempt?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2020 | Divorce |

You may be upset because of your ex-spouse’s essential compliant with the divorce decree. They may not be following the parenting time schedule, making child support payments or perhaps they have not made spousal maintenance payments. In some circumstances, they did not transfer a piece of property as the court had ordered or as outlined in the decree.

According to MyDomaine, when that happens, you have an opportunity to file a motion for contempt. It is important to understand that contempt is not to punish people but rather to motivate performance. You may be under the presumption that you can file the motion for contempt, and that is going to result in your ex-spouse being sent to jail. That is a potential outcome if there is non-performance. But the crux of a contempt motion and the function of the court is to ensure and motivate performance.

So if you are someone who is in that position, you can serve your ex-spouse with an order to show cause. That is an order where you ask the court to sign off on unilaterally without letting your ex-spouse know that you are pursuing a motion for contempt. You will outline the facts of your situation, give that to the judge, and then the judge has an opportunity to sign off on that. You will then serve your ex-spouse with those documents that mandate that they make an appearance before the court. Both of you will 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-spouse to ensure that they perform.