gtag('config', 'AW-945928078/0s88CMHj_mMQju-GwwM', { 'phone_conversion_number': '248-723-5190' });


What Is a Motion for Contempt, and How Do You File One?

In Michigan divorce proceedings, a judge will issue a court order concerning child custody and child support or spousal support arrangements.

When one party disregards the court order and doesn’t comply with the judge’s instructions, a motion for contempt can be filed with the court. The intent of filing such a motion would be to bring the other party into compliance with the original court order.

Contempt of Court

In divorces and parenting arrangements, when a party is held in contempt of court, it means they have, by action or inaction, violated the terms of a court order.

Civil Contempt

If a court finds a person to be in civil contempt, it is an effort by the court to force that individual into compliance with a standing court order. Civil contempt findings are the most common in family law cases, and consequences of being found in contempt include:

  • Fines and court costs
  • Jail time (rare)
  • Potential litigation consequences, such as lost ability to introduce evidence
  • Damages
  • Attorney fees

Contempt of court findings can be an effective means of bringing into compliance parents who have violated child support or parenting time orders.

Friend of the Court

In Michigan, the Friend of the Court office (FOC) helps to enforce child custody and child support agreements that have been ordered by the court. They may be able to find a remedy to bring the other parent into compliance without filing a motion for contempt.

The Friend of the Court office has the authority to arrange child support withholdings directly from the other parent’s paycheck.

If that doesn’t work in your case, the FOC can file for a hearing in which the other parent must explain why they are not making their child support payments. If the judge finds their explanation unsatisfactory, they may rule the other parent is in contempt of court.

In addition, the FOC is required to help resolve child visitation and custody issues. If your child’s other parent doesn’t honor the custody agreement, you must file a written complaint to the FOC. If you need help writing your complaint, they are required to help you. Once your complaint is submitted, the FOC will notify the other parent.

The FOC will work with both parents in hopes they can settle the dispute between themselves. If that doesn’t work, the FOC can file for a motion of contempt hearing for the other parent in which they must explain why they are in violation of the court order.

How to File a Motion for Contempt

You can file a motion for contempt yourself, although the process can be complicated. The motion, officially titled “Motion and Order to Show Cause for Contempt,” can be filed by individuals, but a judge may simply refer them back to the FOC for resolution before they agree to schedule a hearing.

Get Help Filing Your Motion for Contempt

If your child’s other parent is not keeping up with court-ordered child support payments or is not honoring a court-ordered custody agreement, you need an attorney on your side. Gucciardo Family Law can help file your motion for contempt and can guide you through the hearing process to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

Leave a Reply