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Contempt

Contempt is an action or a lawsuit that one party brings when the other party willfully fails to follow a court order.
In Orlando, Tampa and throughout Florida, contempt can be a complicated subject. Contempt is an action or a lawsuit that one party brings when the other party willfully fails to follow a court order. Child support is court ordered, so when a parent willfully does not pay their child support, they may be held in contempt of court. After a contempt action is filed for non payment of child support, the court will then order the nonpaying parent to attend a contempt hearing where the court will determine whether the nonpaying parent has the present ability to pay and whether their nonpayment was willful.
 

 Practice Pointer - Defending Against a Contempt Action

For the nonpyaing parent to defend themself against a contempt judgment, it is the nonpaying parent’s burden to show that because of circumstances outside of their control, they no longer have the ability to pay. If the court finds that the parent is unemployed, underemployed, or has no income but is able to work or participate in job training, the court may order the parent to seek employment, participate in job training, or to keep records for the court detailing their employment search. Fla. Stat. § 61.14.

What is the penalty for a contempt judgment?

 
If the court grants the motion for contempt, the nonpaying parent may be subject to severe penalties and sanctions to ensure future compliance with child support or alimony payments. These penalties might include “incarceration, attorney’s fees, suit money and costs, and compensatory or coercive fines.” Fla. Fam. L.R.P. Rule 12.615(D). It is critically important to take contempt actions seriously. If you have questions regarding filing a contempt or defending a contempt action, please contact an experienced Tampa or Orlando divorce lawyer immediately. 

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