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Contempt Hearings in Indiana

Caring Indianapolis Family Law Attorneys Serving Indiana Residents with Domestic Disputes

contempt hearingsIn family law court in Indiana, judges have the power to issue binding orders concerning a variety of issues, such as division of assets in a divorce, alimony, child support, child custody and visitation, and more. When one party violates the judge’s order, the party is in indirect contempt of court. While contempt of court is not a criminal offense, it can be harshly punished by family law judges. Possible consequences may include jail time, a restriction of your parental rights, a modification of the original order, or other adverse results such as an award of attorney’s fees or simply a reprimand from the court. If you are accused of violating an order, the right Indianapolis family law lawyer can assist you with pleading your case before the judge, or in presenting evidence that you are in compliance. In addition, if you are instead compliant with the order and the other party has violated it, you can seek compliance by filing a motion for contempt.

Eskew Law LLC’s skilled Indianapolis family law attorneys can assist you regardless of what situation you are in. We have experience with divorce, child support, child custody, guardianship, and more and are passionate about providing our clients with excellent and compassionate representation. For assistance with a family law dispute, call Eskew Law LLC now at (317) 974-0177 to schedule an appointment.

What Is Contempt?

When you encounter a domestic dispute, such as dissolution of a marriage or arranging for visitation, you and the other party seek the assistance of the court with resolving the dispute. If you are able to negotiate and compromise with the other party and enter into an agreement, the court can ratify the agreement into an order, giving the judge power to enforce the agreement. If you reach an agreement but do not have the judge make it an order, the court will not enforce the agreement. If you are unable to agree, after weighing evidence and considering the law, the judge will issue a final order. If either the ratified agreement or order is violated in any way, the court has the ability to penalize the breaching party.

Indirect contempt of court simply means that an individual has violated a court order outside of the court’s personal knowledge. Examples of contempt include:

  • An ex-wife refuses to transfer ownership of a vehicle per the final divorce decree;
  • A mother does not appear at a scheduled time and place to exchange custody of a child;
  • A father does not pay child support on time as agreed; and
  • An ex-husband does not provide documentation as ordered

Oftentimes, the court has no way of knowing if someone has breached an agreement or violated an order. Therefore, it is within the purview of the non-breaching party to notify the court. This is done through a motion for contempt. The non-breaching party will explain how the other party violated the order and state what relief they are seeking.

A hearing will be scheduled, and the non-breaching party must prove that the other party willfully disobeyed the order. This party will then be afforded the opportunity to defend against the allegation. If the court agrees a violation occurred, the court has discretion to fashion a reasonable sanction depending on the circumstances. This can include, without limitation, the following:

  • Jail time
  • Court costs or attorney’s fees
  • Fines
  • Changes in custody or visitation rights
  • Admonishment and warnings
  • Extended deadlines or second chance to follow the order

Skilled Indianapolis Law Firm with Experience Handling Delicate Family Matters

If you are either worried you will be found in contempt or if you need assistance with enforcing a court order, our Indianapolis family law attorneys can guide you through the contempt process. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. To schedule a meeting, call Eskew Law LLC at (317) 974-0177 or contact us online.

Sources: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/enforcing-a-court-order–indiana-divorce–family-law