Ventura Divorce Court Stops Contempt Of Court Filing

I don’t know who is running the show over at the Ventura Courthouse, but it sure does not seem that the judges are.  We helped a client of ours by preparing a contempt of court filing because her spouse was in violation of the court orders by not paying child support.

He had not paid for 2 months and indicated to her that would not be paying.  Well, the only way to get this resolved is to file a Request For Order for Contempt.

Now, the clerks office are not supposed to interfere or give any type of legal advice.  But when our client went to the courthouse to file her contempt of court the clerks office, at least 2 employees, were advising her not to file the contempt charge, that it is hard to prove and discouraged her from filing it.

Our client pushed the issue, because this is a clear cut cast of contempt, especially when it involves child support, and the spouse out right refuses to pay.

What is she supposed to do, the husband has not paid for 2 months and she is taking care of the kids all by herself without any financial assistance.

I feel bad for this client of ours because she represented herself, and continues to, with the help of our company and we got her case completed and orders in place.  Then her spouse hires an attorney to try to get the judgement set-aside so they can file a response and re-open the case.  That hearing is still pending and i will report what happens with the set-aside request.

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


Santa Clarita Divorce | Filing For Contempt Of Court For Divorce

Santa Clarita Divorce | Filing For Contempt Of Court For Divorce

While we handle both uncontested and contested divorce cases, every once and a while we will recommend that you file a Contempt of Court motion.  I wanted to discussed the filing of Contempt of Court and when you may want to use it as I am in the middle of completing a contempt of court for child support for a client.

When you have a court order and the other spouse is not following the order of the court, you have “contempt of court”.  When this happens you have 2 choices.  You can either file a regular Request For Order (motion for hearing) asking that the court compel the other party to comply with the previous order. Second you file for Contempt of Court.

The difference is that when you ask the court to compel the other party to comply with previously given orders, usually all the court will do is admonish the other party harshly and advise them to comply.  It seems odd to have to go to court to have the court order the other party to do something that they have already ordered them to do.

This is where Contempt of Court comes in handy.  Contempt of Court is actually criminal in nature. If the court finds the other party in Contempt, the possible penalties include jail sentence, community service, and fine.  It is a serious offense to file against or be accused of Contempt of Court and the penalties can be $1,000 or community service per count of contempt.  You can read the article where we discuss the penalties of California contempt of court cases here.

When I say each count of contempt, i am referring to the fact that, for instance, if you missed 5 payments for child support, each of those missed payments is a count of contempt.  So you can see that the charges really can add up.

So what would be some of the uses for contempt of court?

  1. Contempt of Court of California Child Support Orders
  2. Contempt of Court of California Spousal Support Orders
  3. Contempt of Court for Failure To Pay Attorney Fees
  4. Contempt of Court for Failure To Follow an order to seek work
  5. Contempt of Court for violation of domestic violence or other restraining orders
  6. Contempt of Court to enforce nonpayment of the debt
  7. Contempt of Court of California child custody and visitation orders
  8. Contempt of Court for failure to pay an equalization payment
  9. Contempt of Court in splitting property assets

The above contempt of court charges are the most common.  Probably the most filed contempt of court charges are in relation to contempt or child support and spousal support.

If you need assistance filing a contempt of court case against your spouse please give us a call.