When a Georgia divorce is concluded and the Final Judgment and Decree is signed by the judge, regardless of whether the case was settled or tried by the court, the parties are expected to follow the order. While most people do, there are always those who choose to test their luck by disregarding the terms of the order. If that happens, there are few options and having experienced and knowledgeable family law attorneys to represent you is important.
In order for a party to be found in contempt, there must be clear evidence of an open, willful, and deliberate intent of the party to violate the court’s Order. With most courts, this is a very serious and high standard. If an individual has the ability to pay and willfully violates a court order for support, the court may hold that individual in contempt for failure to pay the child support or alimony. A contempt action may also be brought if a party has failed to transfer property pursuant to a Settlement Agreement or Court Order. An individual charged with contempt faces the penalties of incarceration, restitution, and fines.
If the individual did not have the ability to pay the support, there may not be a valid reason to file a contempt action because it is likely that the individual still does not have the ability to pay. Contempt orders are not meant to harass an individual for not paying support. The intent is to reimburse the support due and punish an individual for willfully refusing to follow a court order when he/she had the ability to pay.
The following types of orders can be enforced with a civil contempt action:
- Property division orders;
- Debt payment orders;
- Retirement account divisions (Qualified Domestic Relations Orders);
- Spousal support orders;
- Child support orders, including related expenses such as medical, extracurricular activities, daycare, etc.;
- Custody and visitation schedules; and
- Money judgments, such as settlement payments, property equalizations, and attorney fees.
Our family law attorneys offer a consultation for our potential clients and are here to help you with the complications and disputes that are involved in seeking a contempt. With a team that is dedicated and passionate about the success of our clients, we are here to help you when you are not receiving court ordered child support, spousal support, and alimony. We assist our clients by analyzing and investigating the situation to verify that there was, in fact, willful contempt. If contempt was involved, we consider all remedies that may be available to bring the breaching party in compliance with the court order. Our team has the experience of working on all kinds of family law matters, including contempt actions, and we have a long list of satisfied clients in Roswell, GA and across the Atlanta area.