Can I Afford to Seek a Contempt Citation?

If you thought getting divorced was hard, you might be surprised that getting your ex to pay child support or alimony or stick to the parenting plan turns out to be much harder. As experienced Denver family law attorneys, we have seen some exes openly flout court orders and get away with it.

If your ex is currently failing to follow a court order, you can seek something called a contempt citation. Once cited, your ex might have to pay a fine until he or she gets into compliance with the court order. The judge might also toss your ex in jail.

If you emptied your bank account to get a divorce, going into court for a contempt of court citation might give you pause. Fortunately, you can request attorneys’ fees in certain situations.

You Can Recover Fees in a Remedial Contempt Action

Rule 107 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure identify two types of contempt—punitive and remedial. Punitive contempt is designed to punish a person for offending the authority and dignity of the court. It is a fixed fine or certain amount of time in jail.

Rule 107 also allows for remedial contempt. Remedial contempt can be anything meant to bring the party into compliance—such as a fine for each day the person continues to disobey the court’s orders. Once the person under contempt starts doing what they are supposed to, the contempt is “purged” and the person is no longer subject to the sanctions.

Rule 107 allows a party seeking remedial contempt to obtain costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. This can make seeking contempt affordable, since you will not be out of pocket for any (or many) expenses.

We Can Bring Both Remedial and Punitive Contempt

Interestingly, Rule 107 does not allow for costs and attorneys’ fees in the event of punitive contempt. However, an experienced attorney can usually bring both remedial and punitive contempt in the same motion. Punitive contempt is rarely necessary, anyway, since the goal of seeking a contempt citation is to get your ex to do something, such as start making child support payments.

Frustrated with Your Ex? We Can Help

If you are squabbling about maintenance, child support, or visitation, please contact a Denver family law attorney right away. At Divorce Matters, we understand how to seek contempt against an ex-spouse, and we can use our knowledge to your benefit.

To get started, please schedule a consultation with one of our Colorado family law attorneys.