Contempt Defined

It may be said broadly, but certainly, that any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder or obstruct the court in the administration of justice, or which is calculated to lessen its authority or its dignity, is a contempt. McCarthy v. Hugo,82 Conn. 26273 A. 778; Dahnka v. People, 168 Ill. 102, 48 N.E. 137. The test is not the physical propinquity of the act to the court but its tendency to directly affect the administration of justice. U.S. v. Toledo Newspaper *Page 390 Co., 220 Fed. 458, affirmed 237 Fed. 986. In re Dill,32 Kan. 668, 5 P. 39, 39 Am. Rep. 505; Smythe v. Smythe, 28 Okla. 266, 144 P. 257; in re Fite, 11 Ga. A. 665, 76 S.E. 397; Gordon v. Commonwealth, 141 Ky. 461, 133 S.W. 206. 

The Courts do not take contempt actions lightly, and those guilty of contempt have often found themselves in jail.  If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot comply with a court order, do not wait until you are in contempt, rather attempt to modify the order based on your new circumstances.  These situations are often complicated, and it is wise to hire an attorney.  Stanford Law Firm, LLC. is here to help.

Petition for Contempt/Enforcement

To initiate a civil contempt/enforcement proceeding against a party who is not complying with a prior court order, the petitioner must file a motion with the court explaining what the party has failed to do.

At the hearing, as in any other civil proceeding, the moving party, will have the burden of proving the other party has not obeyed a prior court order. Once noncompliance is established, the other party will have an opportunity to show an inability to comply with the prior court order. If he or she is unable to do so, the judge may find the other party to be in contempt. If so, the judge may order appropriate sanctions to compel compliance by the other party, including jail, payment of attorneys' fees, suit money, or costs, and coercive or compensatory fines, and may order any other relief permitted by law.