Defenses to a Contempt Action
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Don't take contempt charges lightly. If you are facing a contempt charge you need to hire a qualified attorney to defend you, and mitigate penalties such as fines and jail time.
Contempt is a civil matter, however; the root causes for the contempt action could bring criminal charges.
At a state level, contempt can result in jail time up to 20 days, fines and a requirement to make things right, i.e., pay all past due child support.
In some situations, the matter becomes a federal crime when a person willfully and deliberately fails to pay child support. Specifically, if child support payments are overdue for more than two years, or the unpaid amount exceeds $10,000 the matter is considered a felony crime. This can lead to stiff fines and as much as two years in federal prison.
Contempt Action Defense
Relative to matters of family law, a contempt matter usually relates to a persons failure to comply with court orders. Examples of this are ignoring the terms of your divorce settlement agreement for payment of child support, payment of alimony, child visitation, etc.
If you've been served with legal papers you usually have 30 days to formally respond to the complaint. Failure to respond is, by itself, a legal problem. How well your response is prepared has a tremendous effect on the outcome of your case. You should hire a lawyer to prepare a proper and effective response. This is especially true is you know you are at-fault.
Ideally, a defense for a contempt matter can establish that your actions were not deliberate, or beyond your control. An example of a defense for failure to pay child support is proving that you are involuntarily out of work.
Family Law & Defense Lawyers
If you are facing contempt charges in Georgia, our family law attorneys can help you with your legal challenges. Call our law firm at 770-956-1400.