Contempt of court: a serious enforcement tool in family law matters

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, February 13, 2015.

Let’s talk contempt of court.

Here’s a threshold question: What is it? What exactly does it mean, and how does it relate to family law?

Certain family law issues can be contentious and not easily revolved. Emotions can run high, and a judge sometimes needs to step in to craft a post-divorce order that binds all affected parties to an agreed-upon plan or schedule.

Often, it is matters relating to children that bring judicial intervention and continued oversight to the fore. Most commonly, that means disputes surrounding child support and child custody.

When a judge in Missouri issues an order regarding those subjects, the adults subject to it need to understand immediately and thoroughly that it is meant to be obeyed.

When it is not, a party can enlist the aid of a proven family law and divorce attorney in filing a motion to the court for redress.

With child support, for example, a court might order that a non-payer’s wages be garnished. Alternatively, non-performance can result in the state’s interception of a tax refund, gambling windfall or other income.

And then there is contempt of court, which can be a truly heavy judicial weapon to compel performance. A party deemed to be in contempt of a judicial order can suffer a number of adverse consequences, including, centrally, a prolonged visit to jail.

At the St. Louis-based family law firm of Stange Law, PC, our attorneys provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation to clients who seek to compel mandated performance in a divorce matter and also to people who need our help defending against a contempt motion.

We know the bottom-line importance attached to contempt-related outcomes, and we take pride in the work we do to fully promote the legal interests of our clients.

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