Contempt of Court

Filing Contempt of Court Charges in Durango

Contempt of court is most often sought when an ex-spouse fails to make child support or alimony/maintenance payments in Colorado. The bond requested is most often in the amount of the support arrearages. If you are having difficulty making your ex-spouse follow a court order, you should select an experienced contempt attorney to represent your interests. At Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt, we have significant experience helping those with contempt issues in La Plata County, Archuleta County, Montezuma County, and the Southern Ute Tribal Court jurisdiction.

How to Bring Colorado Contempt Proceedings

You can bring two types of contempt proceedings: remedial and punitive. You will need to file a motion describing the order you believe your ex-spouse violated and the nature of the violation. The court will issue a citation ordering the other party, your ex-spouse, to appear in court on a particular date to “show cause.”

Your ex-spouse will have to appear and explain why he or she should not be held in contempt. If your ex-spouse does not appear, the court can issue an arrest warrant. You can also ask that your ex-spouse have to post a cash bond.

If the person filing the contempt motion fails to show up for a court date, his or her contempt motion will be dismissed. In some jurisdictions, the court does not care if the party bringing the contempt shows up for the advisement, as long as his or her attorney is present. If the person against whom the contempt motion is brought fails to show up, the other party has various options. Generally, that party will ask the court to issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused and the posting of a cash bond.

Whether you are asking for contempt or defending against a contempt citation, a Durango attorney can help you. At the hearing on the citation, the party bringing the action has to show a willful violation by the other party and also that the other party had the ability to comply, when asking the court to find contempt. In a remedial contempt case, the party bringing the action must prove the elements by a preponderance of the evidence. In contrast, the punitive contempt case must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, just as you would have to prove a criminal case. In a punitive contempt case, the party asking for contempt is seeking jail time or a fine. However, the court can suspend the penalties to give a person time to comply with the original order.

Sometimes contempt citations are brought as a negotiation tactic. The party seeking contempt may simply want to settle arrearages. Retaining your own attorney can ensure that the agreement is memorialized appropriately and signed and filed with the court.

Seek Guidance from Experienced Durango Contempt Attorneys

In our difficult economic climate, failure to pay child support or maintenance may be the result of an inability to pay, rather than a willful decision not to pay. Contempt is sometimes sought for inappropriate reasons of revenge or retaliation. Whatever the reason that contempt is sought, these proceedings are serious and require the attention of an attorney. The trustworthy Durango family law attorneys of Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt can help you whether you need to file for contempt of court or defend against it. We represent clients in Durango, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, and Ignacio. Contact us at (970) 259-4422 or through our online form.