divorce, it’s not unusual for one of the parties to cease obeying a court
order. We commonly see this in matters pertaining to
child support, spousal support, and
property division. Sometimes, this happens because a party is willfully disobeying the court
order; for example, a man who refuses to pay child support. Other times,
the person would follow the order if they could but something’s
When someone cannot afford to pay child or spousal support, the solution
is not to simply ignore the court order. Instead, they should immediately
petition the court for a modification – this can apply to child
support, spousal support and child custody.
All too often, people don’t realize they can petition the court for
a modification to the existing court order. So, they willfully disobey
it in hopes of it “going away.” Then, there are a select few
who disobey the court order on purpose, despite their capability financially
or otherwise, to adhere to it.
Regardless of the reasons behind the disobedience, the other party has
the right to ask the court to enforce the court order. If the court finds
the person has indeed violated a court order, they can be found in contempt of court.
About Contempt of Court
According to the
State of Nevada, “The judge cannot hold someone in contempt unless the person is
violating a written order that was signed by the judge, filed with the
court, and served on the other party.” The state continues, “Contempt
is a very serious matter and can result in sanctions, fines, or imprisonment.”
Even if you can prove that the other party has willfully disobeyed a written
court order, the judge won’t necessarily impose fines and a jail
sentence; the judge may find another solution. For example, if a parent
is past-due on child support, putting them in jail won’t help them
pay what they owe. They could lose your job if they’re imprisoned.
Aware of this, the judge may come up with another solution, such as a
Of course, if a party truly is in contempt and they fail to follow the
court order despite the judge’s attempts to work with them, there’s
always the looming threat of fines or jail, or both. That said, being
held in contempt of court is not to be taken lightly.