Working the System in Divorce Court — CONTEMPT

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You often hear the complaints:  “My ex is not paying his child support.”  Or , “My alimony arrives late every month.”  Or “She doesn’t give me the kids when she is supposed to.”  These are intentional, willful violations of court orders.  They are contemptible… a party may be adjudicated in contempt of court.

The offended party to a court order, either during the divorce process with non final orders, or with a post dissolution issue, has contempt and enforcement as a recourse, when the spouse or ex spouse does not perform pursuant to the court order or the final judgment.  Keep in mind that a judge has signed off on the interim order or the final judgment of divorce, making all terms of the order or a marital settlement agreement fully enforceable.  So if a spouse intentionally and willfully disobeys the terms, a motion for contempt and enforcement is the appropriate response.

But here is the way some wrong doer spouses can work the system:  they pay up on the court house steps.  Or they string the offended spouse along until the hearing,  they right the wrong just prior to entering the court room.  If the problem is disintegrated prior to the hearing, there is no evidence of contempt. 

This can happen only so many times though, before the divorce court judge will see a pattern of bad, contemptible behavior.  If a party is adjudicated in contempt, they are given purge provision to pay off any arrears owed over time.  Or if the contemptible behavior persists, the offender can be penalized with payment of attorneys fees, other sanctions, and even face a commitment hearing and jail.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at




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