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Contempt of Court in Maryland Family Law

Couple dressed up nice sitting on a couchOnce your divorce has been finalized, the judge has signed the divorce decree and you have a custody order in place, both parties are legally obligated to comply with the court’s decision. While the majority of couples have no trouble following the orders of the court, even if they are not enthusiastic about them, there are some situations where a party will attempt to take the law into their own hands. When this occurs in Maryland, there are numerous options to encourage or force the other party to comply with the law. If these options are not met with success, the party might be held in contempt of court.

What Things Lead to Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is used to describe when a party intentionally and willfully violates a court order. Some actions or failures to act that could lead to a party being held in contempt of court include:

  • Failure to return a child to the other parent when visitation time ends
  • Violation of parenting time agreements
  • Failure to pay spousal or child support
  • Failure to make an effort to get the child to visit the other parent in accordance with the agreed upon parenting plan
  • Refusal to deliver property as ordered

How Can Someone Be Held in Contempt of Court?

The court does not take holding a person in contempt lightly. Contempt of court is considered to be the most serious remedy, and can sometimes add fuel to an already-burning conflict. Civil contempt allows the party one final opportunity to comply with the court’s wishes. If the party meets the requirements, the sanction will be lifted.

In Maryland family law, if the court is required to use contempt to force a party to be compliant, the court can also elect to charge the non-compliant party with court costs and attorney fees. Maryland also allows for child support and spousal support to be automatically withheld from the paying party. The employer will withhold the monthly amount and forward it directly to the recipient of spousal or child support. Because of how serious contempt of court is, you should never intentionally violate a court order.

Is Your Former Spouse in Contempt of Court?

If your spouse is refusing to cooperate with your agreement, not paying spousal support or otherwise violating a court order, Lebovitz Law can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.

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