A contempt of court motion is a serious matter. If a Colorado family law court finds that you have been in contempt, it can either order you to cooperate and comply with the court order, or face the possibility of a jail sentence.
Therefore, the first step that you need to take when you have been served with a contempt of court motion is to get in touch with a lawyer. Make no mistake. This is a very serious matter, and it is important to have a lawyer on your side, especially when there is a good chance that you might be ordered to go to jail, or immediately pay your dues which could run into the thousands of dollars.
If you believe that you’re being falsely accused of contempt of court, the outcome of your case is automatically much more encouraging. In any family law matter, it is always better to have proper documentation of all your interactions with the other party. Maintain proper receipts, and when there is any negotiation with the other party involving visitation or other matters, bring the witness along. This can help your case if the other party files for contempt against you.
An experienced family lawyer can use effective defenses to protect your interests. The following could be used:
- You did not violate a court order. If it is a child-support-related matter, you can bring along proof of payment as evidence that you were in compliance with the court order.
- You are unable to comply with the court order.
- The court order is invalid, because of lack of jurisdiction. For example, if the court did not provide you with legal notice in the original case regarding child support payments, then there may be no basis for a contempt motion against you.
- You are not aware of the order.
- The language in the order is not clear, or possibly has multiple meanings.
- The court order has expired, which makes the content of court motion against you invalid.
However, in each of these cases, the burden of proof rests on you. For instance, if the contempt is linked to nonpayment of child support, then you must be able to show that you are unable to pay because you do not have a job or do not have sufficient income. Be prepared with strong evidence to support this.
If the contempt of court is linked to a violation of a parenting plan, you must show that you are unable to comply with a court -ordered parenting plan with strong evidences and reasons.
Take a contempt of court motion very seriously. Never talk back to the judge, or walk into court believing that the judge has made a mistake. Never state that you don’t agree with the citation. Don’t blame your failure to comply with the order on anyone else – courts do not take such behavior lightly.