Contempt of Court Lawyers

Serving Central Pennsylvania, Including York, Shrewsbury & Mt Wolf

Contempt of Court LawyersWhat is Contempt of Court?

When a person is ordered by a judge to do something (or refrain from doing something) and willfully disregards that order, he or she may be found in contempt of court. Contempt of court is a powerful tool that we use on behalf of those who retain us in family law cases. Hoffmeyer & Semmelman’s York PA attorneys aggressively seek to enforce all orders we obtain on behalf of our clients. Similarly, if you are our client and are unfairly accused of being in contempt, we will fight to defend you from any charges.

If you find yourself against someone who is unwilling to obey a court order, or you are inappropriately being charged with contempt, contact our attorneys today for help.

How a Party Is in Contempt in Family Court?

In family court practice, judges may order a party held in contempt if they refuse to pay child support or violate a child custody order. Sanctions are also possible if a party refuses to obey a marital settlement or property settlement agreement. For example, if an ex-spouse refuses to hand over the title to a car after repeatedly being ordered to do so, they might be held in contempt. Refusing to pay child support is an area in which contempt charges are quite common. Failing to pay can lead to substantial financial sanctions or even incarceration of the uncooperative party.

What Happens When Someone is Held in Contempt?

Civil contempt of court in Central Pennsylvania

Violating court orders can lead to fines or even imprisonment.

When a party refuses to obey a court order, the court will have a hearing to determine whether it is appropriate to hold the party in contempt. If the court finds against the party, it will next decide on appropriate sanctions. In cases involving child support, a judge may not imprison a defendant for failure to pay without an evidentiary hearing. The hearing is to determine whether the person has “the present ability to pay the court-ordered amount of support.” If the judge has reason to believe that the defendant can pay, he can impose sanctions, including incarceration. This is why it is critical to have an experienced lawyer on your side. You need to make certain that your attorney is able to provide the necessary evidence to prove the defendant can pay, or to show why you cannot pay, if you are the one who is being charged with violating an order.

What Happens When a Protection Order is Violated?

If a defendant has a stay away or no-contact order with a victim due to a PFA, SVPO or PFIO, if he violates that order the prosecutor will seek to punish him for that violation. The court will hold a hearing to determine whether there is evidence that the defendant violated the order and therefore should be sanctioned for doing so. Violating a no-contact order is a serious offense which can result in substantial time in prison.

For the victim, experiencing a violation of a no-contact order is extremely upsetting and often frightening. If you are the plaintiff who has an order of protection and the defendant violates that order, you should call the police immediately. But, if you are the defendant and did not actually violate the order, it is critical that you have proper representation. The charge for violating an order, leaving aside any additional crimes you are alleged to have committed, is called indirect criminal contempt. The result can be incarceration for up to six months, probation and/or fines.

Who Can Help With a Contempt Issue?

Hoffmeyer & Semmelman stands up for our clients when the other party refuses to obey court orders.  Our representation in this area includes enforcement of all family court orders, including custody and support. We also stand up for clients who are improperly accused of contempt by defending against alleged breaches,  including  property settlement and marital settlement agreements. For help enforcing your rights contact our York PA law team today at 717-846-8846.

Contempt of Court in Family Court
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Contempt of Court in Family Court
Learn about contempt of court when a party refuses to obey family court orders such as PFAs, child support, custody and marital agreements.
Hoffmeyer & Semmelman
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