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Boynton Beach Contempt Law

Boynton Beach Contempt Law

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Published by Brian Moskowitz
This article, provided by the Florida family law lawyers at the Law Offices of Brian M. Moskowitz, offers information about Florida contempt law.
This article, provided by the Florida family law lawyers at the Law Offices of Brian M. Moskowitz, offers information about Florida contempt law.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Brian Moskowitz on Jan 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/28/2014

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Boynton Beach Contempt Law
A Florida divorce decree must be obeyed by both parties. The decree is considered to be a binding legal document. If changes to the original decree are to be made, they must be made infamily law court through what is called a
modification
in which one divorced party requests thatthe court change an existing judgment or court order.When one divorced party requests the court to modify an existing court order, a modification proceeding is necessary. When one of the divorced parties violates the court judgment or decree,the court may hold that person in
contempt 
. Contempt is a serious offense which can result insevere consequences, such as fines, time spent doing community service, or even jail.Court orders relating to decision making and residential aspects of post-divorce parenting are bynature coercive. They are intended to govern or control the conduct of family members. Legalcustody and residential orders mandate the divorced parents to not act or to act in specific ways.Residential custody orders delineate when the children will spend time with each divorced parent, for how long and how the periodic transfer of physical custody will occur. Each divorced parent has a duty to release the children into the care of the other at the times and in the wayspecified in the custody order.
Ex
amples of Causes for Holding a Person in Contempt of Family Law Court Orders:
y
 
O
ne ex-spouse has failed to pay court-ordered alimony.
y
 
The noncustodial parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support.
y
 
The noncustodial parent has not met the terms of a visitation order²not picked up thechild in the pre-approved manner and at the time specified or not returned the childon time.
y
 
O
ne ex-spouse has reneged in meeting divorce decree ordered division of property.
y
 
O
ne ex-spouse had failed to meet his or her obligations in any other order or decreeissued by the court.
y
 
O
ne ex-spouse violated a parenting plan by altering time he or she spends with thechildren without first obtaining modification of the plan.
y
 
Failure by the noncompliant parent to take affirmative actions mandated in the initialcustody order 
y
 
Interference with court-ordered sole legal custody assignment²If the noncustodial parent takes the child to a hospital for a procedure or surgery without the custodial parent¶s consent, he or she would be in noncompliance with the custody order andcould be held in contempt.All custody provisions are enforceable. If one parent believes the other is in violation of courtdecrees, he or she can initiate an enforcement proceeding. The result will be a court hearing at
 
which it will be determined whether the other parent did in fact violate earlier court orders and socould be held in contempt of those orders.
History of Being Held in Contempt
A court looking out for the welfare of children with divorced parents has been traced back to theseventeenth century. Child custody laws are survivors of the equity system of justice which firstappeared in the Chancellor¶s court in England and then in the United States. Actions of courtswere said to have been executed ³to the range and flexibility of remedy available in
equity
An essential component in the idea of equitywas the contempt power of the court which could bedirected against individuals who defied the initial court order. Monetary fines and incarcerationcould be imposed for finding individuals in contempt. Court orders regarding the future parenting of children of divorced parents constituted what was called the
equitable order 
.Custody and visitation orders are today called
coercive orders
; they fall into the generaldefinition of injunctive court orders enforceable by contempt.
Causes and Consequences of Contempt
Contempt may occur by action (such as violation of a restraining order) or by the failure to act(such as an ex-spouse failing to pay court-ordered child support or alimony). Contempt may beused during a divorce, parentage, or third-party custody action for enforcement of final courtorders. Contempt can also be used to enforce restraining orders.Contempt charges cannot be brought once a court order has ended or been modified. They alsocannot be brought for all violations. You cannot use contempt to obtain property settlement payments unless those payments are related to child support. Courts in the U.S. hesitate to findan individual in contempt unless the violation is serious. The welfare of children is alwaysdeemed serious by the court.The ultimate goal of any contempt charge is to have the other party follow the established courtorder in the future. The following are mandates which the court could dictate upon the finding of contempt:
y
 
The person being held in contempt could be ordered to undergo counseling.
y
 
The person being held in contempt could be required to complete a child parentingclass or classes.
y
 
The person could be ordered to look for work for a prescribed number of hours eachweek.
y
 
Future hearings could be ordered to make sure the person being held in contempt isnow obeying the court order.
y
 
If the family court judge is certain the person in contempt will never be able to obeythe order in the future, he or she may instruct the individual to file a motion for 

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