If you do not obey a court order, you may be found in contempt of court. There are two kinds of contempt: civil and criminal. In a Civil Complaint for Contempt, if the court finds you in contempt, it will order you to do something, and may also order you to pay the other parties’ legal fees and costs. In a Criminal Contempt, the court may find that you had the ability to comply with a court order in the past, and willfully failed to do so. The court can punish you for having failed to obey a court order. In extreme cases, or after repeated contempt judgments, the court can order you to jail for up to six months.
Contempts most often involve the non-payment of child support, alimony, medical expenses and the like. They may also involve the failure to allow a parent visitation with the children, failure to provide the other party with tax returns, or failure to comply with any provision of a Judgment or Order in a timely fashion.
Defenses to Complaints for Contempt may include the financial inability to pay court-ordered support, the safety and welfare of the children, and other reasons which demonstrate that the “contempt” was not willful.