After a long and stressful divorce process, you finally received your divorce decree. In the decree, both you and your spouse have orders to do or not do certain things. Your divorce decree may or may not be everything you wanted. But it looks like something that you can live with and you finally have some closure. However, what if your ex-spouse is not obeying the divorce decree? Depending upon the specific circumstances, you may have a variety of options including filing a Petition for Contempt.
If an order commands someone to do something, or refrain from doing something, but he or she disobeys that order anyway then that individual is in contempt of court. If your spouse is not obeying the divorce decree, then you are within your rights to file a Petition for Contempt with the Court. However, whether or not that is the most appropriate course of action depends on your specific situation and our divorce attorney in Birmingham can help.
For example, if your ex is taking your child to somewhere dangerous like a house full of illegal drugs or otherwise putting the child in situations where there is a genuine risk of harm then it’s unlikely that you want to wait for your contempt petition to make its way through the court system since it normally takes several months. In such a situation, you would want to get the matter heard by your Judge as soon as possible. On the other hand, if your ex is late in paying the child support or alimony payment, you may not want to file your contempt petition the day after the payment was due. It is probably a good idea to wait about thirty days or so before filing for contempt so that you don’t have a situation where you file it and they pay it before the hearing is had which makes the whole matter moot.
Contempt is one of those areas where you really need to speak to a divorce attorney or anywhere else in the State of Alabama about your specific situation. There are a hundred different things that could technically classify as contempt. But a contempt petition may not be the best way to get what you want when you want it. There may be other remedies of which you aren’t aware, but an experienced attorney would be able to advise you.
If a contempt for petition is filed, the process normally culminates in what is called a “Show Cause Hearing.” This is a hearing in which the person alleged to be in contempt is given a chance to prove (or show cause) that they are not in contempt. If the judge makes a finding of contempt, he or she has discretion to choose from a number of options. For example:
- Firstly, the judge could order them to comply within a certain number of days with the threat of penalties
- Secondly, the judge can order fines or attorney fees.
- Thirdly, the judge can order the disobedient party placed in jail for a certain amount of time.
If you think that your ex is in contempt and obeying the divorce decree, then call an experienced divorce attorney in Huntsville or anywhere else in Alabama about your legal options today!