Contempt of Court in Washington
Contempt of court is the legal procedure that you can use to enforce a court order against another individual. In the context of family law in the state of Washington, contempt issues often relate to the violation of provisions in a parenting plan, court-ordered child support and spousal support obligations, and provisions in a property settlement agreement. The parent who is claiming that there has been a violation of a court order must file a contempt petition with the court specifically describing how the other parent violated the order. Contempt of court is not designed to punish or incarcerate a parent; rather, the goal of contempt is to coerce the parent into compliance with the court’s order.
When Contempt Petitions May be Used
As long as the contempt petition shows reasonable cause for belief that a parent has violated a court order, the court will schedule a hearing and order the parent to appear and show cause why he or she should not be subject to sanctions for violating a court order. Unless the parties are able to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom, the court will hear evidence from each side about the alleged violation of the court order and make a decision about whether the parent violated the court order in bad faith. If the court finds that the parent is in contempt of court, it will issue an order stating a finding of contempt and some form of relief for the other parent. In a contempt relating to a parenting plan, the parent might have to allow the other parent to make up missed parenting time with the parties’ child. Likewise, in a contempt relating to a child support obligation, the court might order the parent to pay any past-due child support payments. Additionally, the court may order the parent in contempt to pay court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and a civil penalty not in excess of $150.
Enforcing An Order
If you are seeking to enforce a court order against your ex-spouse or ex-partner, our Washington contempt attorneys can guide you through every step of the contempt process. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about enforcing all types of court orders, including custody, child support, and orders related to property division. At Ashby Law, we have represented the interests of countless individuals throughout the court order enforcement process.