Contempt orders can be obtained when your ex-spouse is not following the time sharing plan you set. It is imperative that you take this legal action if you want to ensure that your rights are protected in the event that your ex stops paying child support or alimony. Without a court order, enforcement mechanisms such as wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, IRS tax return interception and incarceration are all unavailable.
Violating the residential time in a parenting plan or residential schedule could result in contempt of court in Florida if:
- One parent refuses to allow visitation stated in the parenting plan.
- One parent will not return the child to the other at the end of visitation.
- One parent fails to make reasonable efforts to require a child to visit the other parent at the times stated in the parenting plan.
Contempt can happen by action, such as violating a restraining order; or by failure to act, such as not paying ordered child support or spousal maintenance. You can also use contempt to force the other party to deliver property to you, if a court order required the delivery. You can also use contempt to enforce temporary orders and restraining orders.
The Florida Statutes concerning relocation are strictly construed and a parent who relocates without written agreement or court order subjects themselves to harsh penalties, including an order directing the immediate return of the minor child. If you are considering relocating with a minor child, it is best that you contact a family law attorney to discuss the legal requirements for relocation well ahead of the date you intend to move.
The goal in a contempt action is to have the party follow the court order in the future. The court can order different remedies to achieve this, such as:
- Order the person in contempt to get counseling
- Order the person in contempt to complete a parenting class
- Order the person in contempt to look for work a certain number of hours a week
- Order future hearings to check whether the person in contempt is now obeying the order
For violation of a parenting plan, the court can also:
- Order that one parent get more make-up residential time with the children;
- Award attorneys fees;
- Order a civil penalty;
- Order greater penalties for the second contempt violation in three years
If the judge believes the person in contempt probably won’t be able to obey the order in the future, the court may tell the person to file a motion to modify the court order so that they do not keep violating it.