Motions for Contempt in Custody Cases

Many parents file a motion for contempt or face a motion for contempt at some point during their child’s time as a minor. It is important to know what this motion does and the lasting implications that it can have on your custody case.

What is a motion for contempt and what does it do?

A motion for contempt is a motion asking the court to punish a person for not following an order of the court. Most commonly, motions for contempt are filed when one parent does not turn the child over for the other parent’s time with them. Once a motion for contempt is filed, the court will have a hearing to determine if the parent was actually in contempt of the order. If the parent is found to be in contempt, they can face fines, attorney’s fees, jail time (only in the most serious of cases), and the implications a contempt causes in a custody case.

How does contempt affect a custody case?

A parent found in contempt can be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees, but even more seriously, it shows the court that this person cannot or is unwilling to follow court orders. Showing the court that the parent refuses to follow court orders is a factor in deciding which parent should be the custodial parent. These factors are used for the court to consider what is in the child’s best interest. Being in contempt of orders shows the court that the parent will likely not honor future orders, which is not something that the court looks favorably upon.

If you need help filing a motion for contempt or if you are facing a motion for contempt that was filed against you, please consult with one of our attorneys. Findings of contempt can have negative implications on your custody case.