by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
Contempt of court under general law is a WILLFUL disregard for court orders. What that means is there has to be intent to violate a court order. The intent could be out of vindictiveness, punitive in nature, out of anger, or in some other way meaningful intent to violate the court’s ruling.
In divorce cases in Palm Beach County, this could mean many things. Where a court order states that certain documents are due by a certain date, if this is not complied with, the court may hear a motion for contempt for violation of such an order. The burden of proof is upon the movant who is filing the motion. The movant would have to show the court that the order could have been complied with, but was not, out of willful intent. Not out of inability.
Most motions for contempt of court are filed with regard to court orders to make some form of payment from spouse to spouse. This could be child support, alimony, attorneys fees, or some other form of equitable distribution or some other action court ordered in the divorce case. If a party is ordered to make a payment to another party, and willfully with holds that payment although the funds are readily available, that is contemptible. If a party simply does not have the means, that is an affirmative defense to a contempt claim. That party then should file a modification based upon a change of circumstances since the court order was entered.
For more information about motions for contempt or petitions for modifications of alimony, child support or other issues, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.