Violation of a court order is serious business. This is especially true in family law matters involving child custody, child support, and alimony because violating parties can be sent to jail.
When one party violates a court order, the other party can file a Motion for Order to Show Cause asking a judge to force the violating party to appear in court and explain why they have violated the court’s order. It is sort of like being summoned to the principle’s office, but with more serious consequences at stake.
If the judge finds probable cause that the court’s order has been violated, an Order to Appear and Show Cause will be issued and a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, both parties will get the chance to present evidence under oath. The judge will consider the following two questions:
1. Did the party summoned to court violate the court’s order?
2. Was said party able to comply with the court’s order when the violation occurred?
If the answer is yes to both questions, the judge will find the violating party in contempt of court and hand down the appropriate consequences. There are several options that the judge may choose from, but the two most common are jail time and/or having to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.
So, be very careful when it comes to court orders. Judge’s do not take kindly to their orders being violated, and the consequences can be very costly…to your freedom and your wallet.