In Texas, the family courts can issue orders for child support, visitation, child custody, divorce, alimony (spousal support), and so on. Once the family court issues an order, the parties subject to the order are required to follow its provisions. But what happens if someone violates an order issued by the family court? What are the consequences of failing to stick to a family court order in Texas?
If someone violates an order issued by the family court, he or she can be held in “contempt.” What does it mean to be in contempt? In simple terms, it means the individual intentionally violated the court order. If a judge holds someone in contempt for violating an order, the person can be fined and/or incarcerated. Essentially, contempt is a mainly civil remedy that has potential criminal consequences for the violator.
Contempt for Family Law Issues
There are two common ways someone is held in contempt: the person violated a court order or they behaved poorly while standing before a judge in a courtroom (misconduct).
For someone to be in contempt of an order, there must have been a court order that was in writing and signed by a judge. However, not all violations can lead to contempt. For example, if someone was ordered to pay a certain debt in a divorce, they generally can’t be held in contempt because they failed to pay the debt.
Contempt of court deals with the following:
- Child support
- Visitation rights
- Property division
- Spousal support
Challenges can arise in a contempt proceeding when a court order is vague or ambiguous. If an order is too general or if the details have not been specified, it can be a significant flaw that prevents a successful contempt proceeding. In light of this, someone can file a contempt proceeding and lose, meanwhile having to pay the legal fees. Contempt of court is serious and should not be taken lightly.
If you’re interested in learning more, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC today.