Divorce Contempt Cases

Merrisa L. Coleman-Bishop - San Jose Contempt Hearing Attorney

Contempt of court refers not only to the open display of disrespect or disruptive behavior in court, it also refers to the penalty for a party's willful and continuing failure to obey a valid order of the court. In California marital or domestic partnership dissolution cases, each instance of contempt can be punished by a jail term of five days. Multiplied by other factors such as six months of failure to make child support payments, the penalties for a contempt finding can be very severe. If you believe that the other party in your divorce case is guilty of contempt, or if you're facing contempt proceedings yourself, contact San Jose family law attorney Merrisa Coleman-Bishop for reliable advice and representation.

The California Family Law Summons form served with the petition at the beginning of the divorce case restrains both spouses or partners from certain actions without the other party's consent or an order of the court. The restraining orders cover such actions as:

  • Moving a child of the marriage out of state
  • Changing the terms of any insurance policy or coverage
  • Transferring or encumbering any community or separate property
  • Making any extraordinary expenditure without giving the other party five days' advance notice concealing assets

The intentional failure of any of these can be punished by contempt of court and a corresponding jail term.

Contempt motions can also be used to help enforce the terms of temporary child support or spousal support orders, financial disclosure obligations, and any other interim order of the Family Court judge. They can also be used in post-divorce enforcement actions, such as those concerning a failure to pay back child support or evasion of child support recovery efforts.

Using the children to pass messages to the other parent, or involving the children in contested divorce issues can also be covered by contempt orders. In cases involving domestic violence restraining orders Domestic Practice Area, contempt of court can be found against a party who fails to complete mandatory anger management counseling.

Contact Santa Clara County contempt proceedings attorney Merrisa Coleman-Bishop if you need advice or representation in court about any aspect of contempt of court in a divorce case, domestic partnership dissolution, or post-divorce enforcement action.