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Contempt & Ability to Comply in San Diego Superior Court Whether a Paternity, Legal Separation or Divorce

A divorce, paternity, or legal separation case in San Diego has many legalities to it, and many people may be unaware of them. Like every other county or even state, San Diego County has its own rules that influence the matters of its family law and courts. For all people who are living in San Diego county, it is necessary to comply with the rules and regulations of the family court of San Diego during your divorce, paternity or legal separation. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations can bear its consequences. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience with orders and the compliance for these orders. All must obey court orders and the Judges in San Diego Family Law Court expect their orders to be obeyed. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can advise you on compliance issues and contempt filings both for prosecution an defense. A free consultation, up to one half hour, is offered so that you may have an informed opinion about your family law matter in San Diego. Call 800-769-4748 to calendar.

A person can face the consequences of contempt being filed should they fail to comply with orders from the Court regarding the cases or matters of divorce, paternity, or legal separation. One can explain contempt as a quasi-criminal action, and its consequences can be harsh. A person with contempt can have some serious sanctions being imposed upon him. These sanctions can include the person being convicted as a criminal, and they can also potentially serve some time in jail. Other sanctions might include monetary fines and other sanctions.

But what exactly is contempt? Let’s delve deeper into this concept. Some, when someone hears the word contempt, the picture that they imagine in their minds is a Judge slamming their desk with a gavel in a rather unpleasant mood and telling the spouse that they hold them in contempt. In reality, contempt is a bit different and something much more than that. Most Judge’s now, in San Diego, do not use a gavel in their proceedings. A common definition of contempt is a willful violation of the court orders after being present in court [or legally served with order] which includes conduct which is in violation of the order and no legal defense. This is described in more detail below.

The elements of contempt are a valid court order, valid court order service, failure of someone to comply with a valid court order, or noncompliance in the absence of a legal defense. All the citations of contempt must be served personally upon the person who is alleged of contempt of a court order. For most of the divorce cases, generally, an appointment of counsel for legal representation is not available for the person who is accused of contempt. However, he or she is within their legal rights to ask for such an appointment during the family law case. During contempt, two elements are treated as entirely different and separate matters to each other. These two elements are willful failure to comply with a court order and the ability to comply with a court order. Someone failing to pay court ordered child support can be subjected to contempt charges.

Under such circumstances, the payor bears the burden of proof to show payments. Whereas in the contempt charges regarding the spousal support, the payee has to bear this burden to show that as per the court order, they were not paid. Other charges of contempt in which noncompliance was the case, the court reviews all the evidence on the matter. If someone is unable to comply with the support order, it can be treated as a defense by the citee and not contempt.

For example, if an exchange is to be done at 8pm on Sunday, and the parent transferring is in a car accident and taken to hospital, there is no contempt for non compliance with the court order. There are also other legal defenses possible and contempt is very technical. Also, many Judge’s in family law court in San Diego, will hold any pending famil law hearings pending the contempt due to the 5th Amendment rights of the parent or spouse accused of contempt.

Contempt citations are very serious and, if the contempt citation is dismissed, it is possible to bring a malicious prosecution action in civil court for additional remedies. If you are served with a contempt citation, it is advised to seek legal advice immediately. Doppelt and Forney. APLC have experience in many family law areas including contempt. A consultation can provide very useful information and legal representation can protect your legal rights during a contempt proceeding.

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