What Does it Mean To Be Held in Contempt?
Contempt of court is when you willfully disregard the authority of a court, disrespect a court, or block the legal action of a court. In the realm of family court, this could mean one party refusing to pay child support payments to the other. If you or your former partner do not honor the terms of a family court order, either party could face serious consequences.
Contempt of Court Examples
Civil contempt of court is when a court attempts to force you to comply with an order. In many situations, this order can imprison someone until they choose to adhere to this order. For example, if your former partner hasn’t honored a child support arrangement, they could face jail time until they agree to make payments.
In North Carolina, if you have been found in civil contempt of court you cannot be held in criminal contempt for the same action. The punishments for criminal contempt are more severe than civil and include:
- public reprimand;
- a fine not exceeding $500; and/or
- a minimum of 30 days imprisonment.
Direct & Indirect Contempt
Contempt of court may either be direct or indirect. If someone is in direct contempt of court it means they have willfully disobeyed a court order in the presence of a judge. Conversely, indirect contempt of court occurs outside the courtroom. For instance, if you refuse to honor a custody arrangement, you are indirectly defying a court order.
Contempt of Court & Child Safety
In some cases, you may dishonor a court arrangement to keep your child safe. Say, for example, the other parent placed your child in a dangerous situation the last time they had custody and you don’t feel comfortable leaving them alone together. In North Carolina, a parent may still be in contempt of court if they violated a visitation order due to child safety. However, an attorney with experience in contempt of court issues can help you build a strong defense to avoid the consequences of a contempt of court issue.
Dedicated to Protecting Your Legal Rights
You can depend on our attorneys at Rech Law, P.C. to help defend your legal rights. We will do everything we can to construct a strong case and advocate for your rights.
Call our firm today at (704) 659-0007 or contact us online for a consultation.