What is a Motion for Contempt?
When a judge makes a ruling in a divorce or parental rights and responsibilities case in Maine, a court order is issued spelling out the terms for each party. If one party does not abide by these terms, the other may petition the court to have the order enforced. Common noncompliance issues include the following:
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to pay spousal support
- Failure to follow the child visitation schedule
- Failure to hand over property
Maine courts give petitioners 2 options for getting assistance in enforcing an agreement. The first is to file a motion to enforce. This involves petitioning the court to enforce an existing order. The second option is a motion for contempt. . It is recommended that a motion to enforce is the first option to turn to. Motions for contempt are a bit more complicated to request and will lead to steeper sanctions for the petitionee (the non-complying party).
A motion for contempt can be considered in cases where an order to enforce has already been granted and ignored by the other party or when the terms of the agreement are highly contested by the other party. If the order is granted, the petitionee could be sentenced to pay fines or even serve jail time.
Filing a Motion for Contempt in Maine
In order to file a motion for contempt, the appropriate paperwork must be completed and the necessary fees must be paid. The petitioner needs to explain what order was issued and what terms are not being followed. Additionally, a petitioner can also request remedial actions be taken. A remedial action is a step that can be taken to remedy the past damage that has been done due to non-compliance. For example, a party may request additional visitation days to make up for the ones lost or that back child support be paid right away.
Next, the paperwork must be approved by a judge and served to the other party. They will also be subpoenaed meaning that they must appear in court. For a motion for contempt, no mediation will be ordered. Instead, the parties will go straight to a formal hearing. The judge will hear both sides of the issue and even allow parties to introduce witnesses and show evidence before issuing a ruling. If either party is unhappy with the judge's ruling, they will have 21 days to appeal.
If you would like to know more about filing a motion for contempt in Maine, contact a family law attorney right away. At WTB Law, we work to help our clients get the results they need as quickly and easily as possible. When dealing with any type of post-judgment dispute, a divorce lawyer can help you understand your options. Call us now to get started.