Contempt of court in SC divorce
Your divorce decree, child custody order, support order or order of separate maintenance and support represents a legal order of the court. If you or your spouse violates the order by failing to adhere to it, you could be held in contempt of court.
Contempt of court actions can arise from many different situations, including failure to pay child support or alimony, failure to pay a mortgage, failure to follow visitation orders and many other situations determined by the court.
In South Carolina, a contempt action is called a “rule to show cause.” Many courts are aggressive in pursuing contempt issues since misconduct that’s allowed to occur early on may result in additional misconduct later. By handling contempt issues as soon as they occur, the court sets a precedent which, hopefully, will result in compliance with the divorce decree in the future.
When filing a contempt motion, you must outline the areas of the decree or order which have been violated and why these violations should result in a contempt charge being issued. An experienced family attorney in SC will be able to gather the evidence needed to support your claim.
If your spouse is found guilty of “willful” contempt, they can be subjected to penalties including fines of up to $1,500, jail time of up to one year or up to 300 hours of community service – or a combination of these penalties. Rulings typically vary based on the type of violation, and they can also vary between court systems and even between judges.
If the court finds the contempt was not willful (that is, not intentional), generally no penalty will be assessed, although the court will usually issue a warning for future conduct.
Divorce and other family court issues are serious matters, and having an experienced Charleston divorce lawyer is an important part of making sure your rights are protected. If you’re facing divorce, give us a call today at (805)863-1800 and schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.
An experienced family attorney in SC can help you avoid being in contempt of court and can help you minimize the damage if you do make a mistake.