St. Louis Divorce Lawyers

Contempt of Court – Family Law Attorney

Our family law firm is here to help you with issues of contempt of court.

In terms of family law, contempt of court usually involves a parent or spouse disobeying a court order regarding child support payments or child custody and visitation arrangements. This is known as civil contempt of court, an act that unfortunately, our firm has much experience with.

When a St. Louis court makes final custody and child support agreements, it is expected that both parties will follow the terms. Especially considering that a parenting plan that was drawn up by both parties is the basis of the agreement. If one parent violates the terms laid out in the agreement, he or she can be subject to punishment by the court. This could include but is not limited to, fines and jail time.

Violation of custody and support agreements is taken very seriously by the state of Missouri. These were made in the best interest of a child whose rights to a healthy relationship with both parents have been put in jeopardy. When a parent is having a difficult time getting the other parent to obey these terms, our firm will do it’s best to help rectify the situation with as little disruption to the child’s life as possible. Our goal is not to put disobeying parents behind bars, but to get them to act responsibly and in the best interest of their children.

Child Support and Contempt of Court

Parents have a legal obligation to support their minor children. Once a St. Louis court has accepted a child support agreement between two parties, the non-custodial parent is bound to make such payments in accordance with the decree. Failing to do so is considered contempt of court and is a punishable offense.

There are other forms of enforcement that our legal team will try with a delinquent parent before a contempt of court order is filed:

  • Wage Deduction: This is a request for income to be withheld directly from the delinquent parent’s paycheck in order to meet their child support responsibility.
  • Income Tax Refund Interception: Federal income tax refunds can be seized to help cover the cost of missing child support payments.
  • Drivers License Restrictions: On your behalf, we can request that the paying parent’s driver’s license and/or professional license be restricted or revoked until payments have been restored.
  • Passport Restrictions: Parents who are not making their child support payments may find that they are unable to obtain or renew a United States passport.
  • Contempt of Court: The outcome from these proceedings varies from case to case, but in most, the delinquent parent is subjected to fines in addition to having to pay the missing, court-ordered, child support payments. For repetitive offenders, a judge may deem some jail time is appropriate.

Our firm has worked with all types of support enforcement scenarios including spousal support, or alimony, and failure to pay medical insurance. These are sensitive issues that require a clear understanding of how the laws work to protect your rights, and those of your children, in St. Louis. Support enforcement is only available if a St. Louis court has previously ordered it.

Child Custody and Contempt of Court

Violating custody agreements is particularly disturbing, as it is interfering with a child’s ability to spend quality time with a non-custodial parent. A St. Louis court signs off on custody agreements after considering the best interests of the children, therefore non-compliance with them is seen as a serious offense that is disruptive to the child’s growth and well being.

As with support enforcement, our firm strives to amend child custody issues in a way that will not adversely affect the children involved. Our main objective is to help you restore an arrangement that is in the best interest of the children. We have dealt with a variety of different circumstances involving contempt of court and child custody including:

  • Communication Interference: There is more to custody and visitation then having your child with you physically. For Missouri parents, it is also about being able to maintain a healthy relationship with your child. If one parent does not permit communication between a child and his parent through phone calls, text or any other means, they could be held in contempt.
  • Not Allowing Visitation: A custodial parent is not permitted to prevent scheduled visits either directly or indirectly by planning events or activities during visitation times. If there is just cause for stopping visitation, our firm can help you file a custody modification request. Otherwise, a parent could be held in contempt for violating the court-ordered terms of the custody agreement.
  • Not Allowing Visitation for Non-Payment of Child Support: Child support and custody are two separate matters and a custodial parent cannot try to enforce support by withholding access to the child. If you are having difficulties collecting your child support, we can assist you with filing your own contempt paperwork, but not allowing court-appointed visitation will only make your situation worse.
  • Taking the Child Without the Other Parents Knowledge or Permission: If the non-custodial parent takes your child without your prior knowledge, they can be subject to contempt of court charges, especially if they leave Missouri or the United States.
  • Not Complying With a Visitation Schedule: A Missouri court agreed to a custody agreement based on the needs of a child. A parent who is not showing up for his or her scheduled visitations without good cause can be found to be in contempt of that order.

Contempt of Court Attorney

Our firm takes the violation of support and custody orders as seriously as the St. Louis family court system does. We know, as you do, that these orders were made to protect your child and provide them with an environment they can thrive in. We use every available resource to ensure that their needs are being met the way the St. Louis judge who signed off on the order meant for them to be.