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What is Contempt of Court and When Can Someone Be Held in Contempt During a Family Law Case?

 Posted on April 11, 2023 in Divorce

palatine divorce lawyerWhen an Illinois Court issues a decision related to a divorce, child custody, or family law case, the decision is final. The parties may have an opportunity to file an appeal or petition the Court for a modification under certain circumstances; however, they cannot simply ignore the Court’s ruling. Failure to comply with a Court order can lead to being held in contempt of Court.

Noncompliance Can Lead to Contempt of Court Charges

When an individual knowingly fails to obey a Court order, he or she can be held in contempt. For example, a parent who is required to pay child support or spousal support may be held in contempt if he or she fails to make regular payments. Divorced parents can also face contempt charges for consistently failing to adhere to the parenting plan. Being late to drop off a child a few times will not result in contempt charges, but a consistent, intentional decision to violate the allocation of parenting time or responsibilities may cause a parent to be held in contempt.

What Does it Mean to Be Held in Contempt?

If a party believes that another party bound by a Court order is violating the order, he or she can file a petition for rule to show cause with the Court. A hearing will be scheduled during which both parties have a chance to express themselves. The person who is being accused of violating a Court order will have an opportunity to explain his or her reasons for doing so. The Judge listens to each party’s arguments, examines the evidence presented, and then makes a ruling.

When someone is found to be in contempt of Court, he or she may face several types of penalties. For example, if a parent fails to pay spousal support, the Court may put them on probation and require them to make regular payments. The Court also has the authority to sentence an individual to jail for contempt of Court, impose fines, and suspend the person’s driver’s license.

Contact our Palatine Divorce and Family Law Attorney

If your ex-spouse, child’s other parent, or another individual in a family law case is not complying with a Court order, contact our Arlington Heights divorce lawyer for help. We can help you take the steps needed to enforce the order. Call 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.



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