Santa Clarita Divorce | Punishment For California Contempt Of Court

Santa Clarita Divorce | Punishment For California Contempt Of Court

I had just finished up writing an article about California Divorce and Contempt of Court and thought I would follow up by writing about what the punishment can be after the divorce court makes a finding of contempt of court.

The punishment for contempt of court comes from California Code of Civil Procedure 1218(c) which states that for each act of contempt, the convicted spouse or parent shall be fined up to $1000 and or imprisoned for up to five days. Notice that this is for each act of contempt. In support proceedings, each monthly payment is a separate act. The court also has the power to order community service.

he punishment in family law proceedings is mandatory.

On a first offense, the spouse or parent convicted of contempt must be ordered to perform community service for up to 120 hours or be imprisoned for 120 hours, which amounts to five days, for each count of contempt. Therefore, for example, if there was a failure to pay child support for 10 months, that is 10 separate counts or 50 days in jail.

If there is a second contempt finding, the rules become more severe, the punishment now becomes 120 hours of community service and imprisonment for up to 120 hours, for each act of contempt.

For a third and any further contempt findings, the convicted spouse or parent must be imprisoned for up to 240 hours (which amounts to 10 days) and ordered to perform up to 240 hours of community service, for each count of contempt.

There are also fees and costs associated with the contempt proceeding.

The court must take into account a spouse or parent’s employment schedule when ordering community service or jail. After all, how is a person found to have violated a court order, especially a support order, supposed to make support payments if your she loses his or her job?

The court is not mandated to award attorneys fees in California contempt of court proceedings. It is a discretionary function of the court.

If you need to file a contempt of court for your divorce case please give us a call for help.  We can prepare your contempt of court motion, file it with the court and serve your spouse to get you into court.



Farzad Family Law Blog

California Code of Civil Procedure