When a divorce is finally over, it is often a moment of relief for everyone involved. But what happens when the other parent willfully disobeys the court orders you worked so hard to obtain?
Luckily, Connecticut courts offer options when a parent disobeys a custody, visitation, child support or alimony order or fails to pay medical bills or provide health insurance as ordered by the court. This option is to file a motion for contempt with the court. Through a contempt order, the court can punish a parent by fines of up to $100, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
When you ask for a contempt order, it is best to have a skilled family law attorney to guide you through the process, especially since different courts have varying rules. In general, the first step to take when the other parent of your children purposefully violates court orders is to prepare the appropriate forms:
- Motion for Contempt, which explains what orders the other parent disobeyed
- Appearance form if you do not have an attorney, although it can be overwhelming to tackle these problems without professional lawyers
- Letter to Marshal so the marshal can serve the other parent a copy of your motion
Once you have the forms, you must file them with the clerk in the court where you first received the order. At this point, you will receive a date for your court hearing. Even if the other parent lives out of state, you must have the state marshal serve him or her with certain papers at least five days before the hearing:
- Letter to Marshal
- Original Motion for Modification
- Copy of the motion
Once the marshal serves the other parent, the motion is returned to you and it must be filed with the clerk before the hearing. Once the contempt hearing date arrives, you may be asked to meet with Family Services or Family Relations to work out an agreement, unless you already have an agreement, or you may proceed with the hearing where both sides can present their cases.