With a contempt of court action, the number one concern for any of our clients facing contempt is the possibility of jail. Jail can be ordered in both a remedial or punitive contempt situation. In a punitive situation, the court can order up to 180 days in jail upon a finding of contempt. The amount of time is up to the judge and there are judges out there who will not hesitate to impose a jail sentence. In a remedial situation, the court can also order jail time in a remedial fashion. For example, the court could say, “I hereby sentence you to jail until you such time as you remedy this contempt of court by paying your back alimony.” With jail as a possible outcome for any contempt case, we will strive to find all options available to protect our clients from going there. Settlement of the contempt issue is always the first choice, though the other side may not be willing to settle.
The next option is thoroughly preparing for hearing on the issues, with the hope of showing the court that the other side has not met its burden of proof. Unfortunately, sometimes, a party may truly be in contempt, with little options for hearing or settlement. In those instances, our attorneys still strive to lessen the fine, penalty, or jail time. Again, each judge and each court will be different in terms of outcomes and sentences. Keep in mind that jail can also be ordered in custody cases in Denver or Colorado as a whole, regarding violations of visitation or other orders. Work release is also sometimes an option.
What happens if I cannot get the other party served with contempt papers in time?
The party against whom a contempt of court action is filed must be served with the relevant paperwork 20 days prior to the initial advisement hearing. If he or she cannot be served in time, the family law court will generally issue what is called an “alias summons,” which will set forth a new advisement date. This summons should be served with the original papers. Difficulties in getting a person served do arise from time to time. It is not uncommon for people in contempt of court to avoid service. Courts know this and statute makes allowances for such situations.
What happens if I don’t show up at court for my contempt hearing?
Failing to show up for court in a contempt action has different ramifications depending upon whether a person is bringing the contempt action or whether he or she is the one being accused of violating court orders. If the person filing the contempt motion fails to show up for a court date, whether the advisement or the evidentiary hearing, his or her contempt motion will be dismissed. In some jurisdictions, the court does not care if the party bringing the contempt shows up for the advisement, so long as his or her attorney is present.
If the person against whom the contempt is brought fails to show, the other party has various options. Generally, that party will ask the court to issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused and the posting of a cash bond. In Denver area divorce, custody cases, and child support cases, our attorneys most often see contempt actions filed for non-payment of child support or alimony. Generally, the bond requested will be in an amount correlating with the amount of back child support or alimony owed. For the court to issue a warrant for failure to appear, the party bringing the contempt must be able to produce valid documents indicating that the accused was personally served.
His passion and ferocity kept me going through this long ordeal. When I first came to Plog & Stein it was simply discuss the renegotiation of child support. Little did I know that within 72 hours I would be retaining Steve Plog for a custody battle. His passion and ferocity kept me going through this long ordeal. I have recommended him to my friends and I would recommend him to anyone with who wants honest and effective representation. Carolyn
I recommend Sarah and the attorneys at Plog & Stein to anyone that has these types of family issues and need strong, knowledgeable representation. I am thankful for the job Sarah McCain did for me in my fight with my ex-wife for visitation rights with my daughter. Sarah and the team at Plog & Stein handled my case in an efficient, affordable, and professional manner. Sarah negotiated a new parenting plan as well as acceptable visiting rights and even a favorable modification in my child support. I recommend Sarah and the attorneys at Plog & Stein to anyone that has these types of family issues and need strong, knowledgeable representation. Tom
At the end of the day he was able to produce a settlement that was fair to both parties. I highly recommend Stephen Plog for anyone in need of a top notch domestic relations attorney. After a 27 year marriage, Stephen represented me in a complicated and sometimes bitter divorce with many unique challenges. At the end of the day he was able to produce a settlement that was fair to both parties but limited my alimony payments to only 3 years. He is smart, cuts to the chase, knows the court system in the Denver metropolitan area and can be trusted to get his clients the best possible settlement. Neal
Their service was outstanding, with prompt responses to all of my questions. Sarah McCain and Plog & Stein were wonderful to me during such a difficult time in my life. Their service was outstanding, with prompt responses to all of my questions and creative ideas throughout the proceedings to help things go smoothly. Sarah's compassion, patience, and expertise were especially invaluable to me. I highly recommend them. Sandy
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We serve clients throughout the State of Colorado including, but not limited to, those in the following localities: Denver County including Denver; Arapahoe County including Aurora, Centennial, Greenwood Village, and Littleton; Broomfield County; Douglas County including Highlands Ranch, Parker, Castle Rock, and Franktown; Jefferson County including Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, and Golden; Adams County including Brighton, Westminster, Northglenn, and Thornton; Boulder County; Elbert County including Elizabeth and Kiowa; El Paso County; Weld County; Larimer County.