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Monday, May 3, 2010

Contempt - Jail

Court Orders are serious matters. They are to be complied with. If a person does not obey a court order, the other party may bring a Motion for Contempt. Contempt is not designed to punish a person, but to coerce them to abide by and follow the Court Order.

When the Court is faced with a Motion for Contempt, they want to know why the person did not comply with the Order. Did they know about the Order? Did they have the ability to comply with it? Was there a reasonable explanation as to why they did not comply? If the person did not have the ability to comply and explains it to the Court, they may not be found in contempt. If they had the ability to comply and simply chose not to do so, they need to be prepared to face the wrath of the Court.
When there is contempt, the Court will usually impose sanction to encourage them to follow the Order. This may start small and include the costs and attorney fees of the other party, and may include financial penalties. Ultimately, if the party refused to comply, the Court can and will impose jail time. This is usually the last resort, but it is used to get the party's attention. The court may impose one day of jail, with an order to comply in a reasonable amount of time (one week). If they fail to do that, the Court can then have in place an order for additional jail time.

Again, the purpose of the jail time is not to punish, but to get compliance with a Court Order. Typically, jail will do that to a person. Last week, i had the Court impose jail time against an opposing party who refused to obey a Court Order in favor of my client. It was a sobering experience.
The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, both contested and uncontested. We have 4 attorneys for you to chose from. Please visit our web page at Washington Divorce Lawers for more information.

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