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Proving contempt is requires a relatively straightforward process. If it's a matter of excessive, past-due child support the absence of financial records can make it relatively easy to prove. If the matter is more subjective, alleging issues with words or actions, the ability to provide strong proof can be challenging.
The bottom line is that you must be able to certain types and levels of proof to support the contempt action.
What is Contempt
By general definition, contempt of court applies to a situation wherein an individual has willfully and knowingly ignored a standing court order or disrupted a court proceeding. Relative to family law matters, such as terms in a parenting plan or settlement agreement, it is often failure to pay child support or spousal support, and not adhering to defined visitation or custody schedules.
Failure to comply is a civil matter which can be addressed with multiple types of contempt remedies, most often filing a contempt action.
How to Prove Contempt
Proving contempt requires establishing a factual basis for the claim with supporting information that indicates actions, lack of actions, and willful intent to not comply with a court order.
- Establish that there is a standing court order.
- Establish that the defendant is aware of the court order.
- Prove with facts that validate your claim of non-compliance.
- Show that the defendant was given notice of the contempt hearing and a chance to present their side of the story.
- Argue that Contempt action is appropriate for the current situation.