Your ex-spouse is not following your separation agreement ordered by the court; you’re frustrated, and your first reaction is to file a contempt!
Before you make that decision, this is what a contempt action looks like….
We file a motion, then we wait…. and wait some more and then maybe the Court will agree there is good cause for a hearing. Now you pay to serve your ex with the filed motion. Then, within the next 30-60 days the Court will have an advisement hearing to explain to your ex their rights. Then set another hearing, however further out the Court needs, to have a hearing on the motion that you filed now months ago!
By the time you finally get to Court, you either let it go, got it resolved, or the motion is so outdated as far as amounts owed or damage done that you have to file a new motion.
What are your options before filing A Motion for Contempt?
The big issue is one parent not following the separation agreement or parenting plan. I have counseled my clients to be diligent about documentation and setting specific dates, times and deadlines for action to occur. If you follow these actions and documentation are provided to the dismissive spouse, it’s difficult to dispute the contemptible behavior and actions.
“Oh, yes, that stuff you had until Sunday at 2:00 to retrieve from our storage was sold and donated as I told you it would be in writing 2 weeks ago.”
“Oh, right, the kids are going with me this weekend per the E-mail I sent to discuss formally with you 2 weeks ago, and you failed to respond to per the Court Order regarding requests.”
If your agreement does not have consequences, then it’s time to modify the agreement. Other blog posts
If you keep filing motions with the court for the same reasons then, the fix is in a new prayer for relief.
The “prayer for relief” is legalese for what specifically you are asking of the Court, to remedy the situation.
Here are some recent problems we fixed with a solution outside the court without a motion for contempt.
The problem: One parent kept saying she did not get the E-mails.
The solution: We asked the Court to order both parties to sign-up with an on-line service such as TheFamilyWizard.com, or TalkingParents.com to track all correspondence. We set a weekly time that each parent must check for any correspondence on-line.
The problem: one parent continually failed to pay the extra-curricular expenses within the 2 weeks contemplated and ordered.
The solution: We negotiated an upfront payment of anticipated expenses for the next six months, and the parent had to pay the amount in advance, every 6 months. My client kept track of the accounting and then would either credit or ask for an additional amount owed when depositing the next lump sum.
The problem: One ex-spouse kept bringing her new husband to kids’ school meetings.
The solution: We wrote letters to the principal explaining the court orders regarding joint decision-making and the adamant objection to anyone other than the parents being involved in any meetings regarding the children.
The point is staying focused on the fix instead of the fight, creates a better resolution than a motion for contempt.
If you are at the point where you need assistance with adhering to the agreements call us to discuss some options for you and your family. If you feel like you have exhausted your options, we can still help you with your situation and work toward your fix.
Save your children and restructure your family with more immediate results by finding ways to avoid court whenever possible.
If you have questions or concerns please call us at 720-722-0776 or Email Us.