Family Law Attorneys

Tips for Successfully Filing for Contempt

Tips for Successfully Filing for Contempt


Court orders are put in place at the time of a custody hearing, whether it is part of a divorce decree or a separate custody dispute. Once these orders are put in place, it is up to both parties to follow them. In some cases, couples make small changes to which they both agree. However, in other cases, individuals may choose to break those orders. This is considered contempt. If you are considering filing contempt charges, there are things you can do to increase your odds of success.


Documentation is extremely critical if you are thinking of filing for contempt. In these cases, it is up to the person filing the charges to prove fault on the part of the other party. The best way you can do this is to provide solid documentation. Keep all written communications, call logs and voicemails. Keep track of any missed visitations or other issues on a calendar so you can show how the other person failed to follow the orders. This is more effective than detailing what happened verbally.

Hire a Lawyer

While you may file contempt charges on your own, it is often best to hire a lawyer to help you handle the case properly. A lawyer can ensure you have the right kind of documentation and guide you through what is allowed and what isn't. Sometimes judges simply favor someone who has taken the time and money to hire proper representation.

Know Potential Outcomes

Some people head into court expecting an outcome that isn't likely to come. Understanding the likely outcomes will help you determine if your charges were successful. For instance, failure to pay child support can lead to jail time and revocation of licenses. However, if the charges show the other party didn't take the right visitation or refused visitation to you, jail time and similar punishments aren't likely. Instead, the judge is more likely to order a change of custody or visitation plans to avoid the same issue in the future. The right expectations will help you accept the outcome.

If the other party isn't following the court orders, you can file for contempt with the court. Before you file the charges, though, it is important to document the behavior properly, discuss your options with a lawyer and determine the potential outcomes. All this preparation work will increase your chances of successful charges, getting your case back on the right track.

Do you need help filing contempt charges against your child's other parent? Contact us to discuss the specifics of your case.