Violating a DC Divorce Agreement 

A contempt finding is an official finding by the court that you have been found to be in violation of a court order and it may carry both civil and criminal penalties. Typically, a court will give you the opportunity to abide by the terms of the divorce proceeding before entering a finding of contempt, but if you are found to be in contempt of a valid court order, such as a divorce decree, you may have to pay legal fines and you may have to pay your former spouse’s legal fees which may have been incurred in bringing you back to court to enable the court to enter a finding a contempt against you.

In certain cases, you may even face jail time as a result of this kind of finding. A skilled DC family lawyer can provide more information for you.

Repercussions for Violating Divorce Agreement

The repercussions for violating a divorce agreement in DC and potentially being found in contempt of a court order will depend on the level of the violation. The court often gives a party who has violated the divorce order the ability to rectify their violation, such as by paying past due child support payments or by making up for an alternative visit date. Repeated violations of a DC divorce agreement or certain types of violations may actually result in the modification of the divorce decree itself.

If a person fails to make a child support payment and they are found to be in violation of a court order, it can have serious ramifications even outside of the court system, such as resulting in the garnishment of wages, interception of tax refunds, or imposition of jail time for violating a court order or for failing to abide by the terms of a person’s divorce decree.

Common Defenses

The most common defense in a case involving a violation of a DC divorce agreement is that there was some good reason for failing to abide by the terms of the divorce decree. If a violation cannot be shown to be intentional or willful, a party will not be held in contempt. So, if there were some extenuating circumstances that made the spouse unable to make a certain support payment at the time and they are able to do so at a later date, it is very unlikely that they will be found to be in contempt of the divorce decree. Often only a repeated failing to make a child support payment will result in a contempt finding.

Another common defense would be if some emergency situation has occurred and that was the reason why the support decree was not followed at that time, but the court will typically allow spouses who are violating the divorce degree multiple opportunities to rectify the situation before finding them to be in contempt.

Hiring a DC Family Lawyer

A DC family lawyer is well-prepared and experienced in divorce cases. If you are experiencing an issue in violating a DC divorce agreement, call an attorney immediately.