How To File a Contempt of Court

Someone can be held in contempt of court if they don’t comply with a court order.You can file a motion for a judge to hold someone in contempt for violating a child support or custody order.If you don’t have an attorney, you can usually do this on your own.If you want your local court to enforce a court order made in another state, you will want to consult an attorney.

Step 1: You can find a motion for contempt.

A standard document is a motion for contempt.Without having to draft a court form, most courts have fill-in-the-blank forms you can submit.Pay a visit to the court clerk’s office if you want to look on the website.Motion forms are available for download on the websites of legal aid societies.You should use a form that is approved for use in the court to hear your motion.You want to file your motion in the court that issued the original order.If you want to file a motion in a court closer to you, you should talk to a local attorney.

Step 2: You can get a copy of the court order.

Your motion of contempt is based on someone else’s violation of a court order.Attach a copy of the court order to your motion if you don’t already have one.You should get a copy of the order from the clerk if you don’t have one already.You may need to send a copy of it to the other party when you go to court on your motion.

Step 3: If you don’t want to represent yourself, consult an attorney.

You may not be comfortable going before the judge on your own.If the judge rules in your favor, you can get the other person to pay your attorney’s fees.If you want the court to rule on your motion that wasn’t in the original order, you should consult an attorney.If you have a restraining order against the other person, you should hire an attorney.If you fear the other person will threaten or attempt to intimidate you, you may want to hire an attorney.

Step 4: You need to fill out a motion form.

Information about you and the other party is required in the motion form.You have to explain how the other person violated the order.You can state what you want the judge to do about the violation.Penalties for violating an order are listed in a state law.It is possible for the judge to rule as they feel appropriate, based on the circumstances surrounding the violation.You may be required to have your signature on the form notarized.You can check the last page to see if there is a block.

Step 5: You should make copies of your form.

You have to submit your original documents along with 3 copies to the court.The copies will be given to you by the clerk.The clerk’s office will usually have a copy machine that you can use if you need it, but you’ll have to pay a fee.It could be a lot higher than what you would pay somewhere else.

Step 6: If you’re representing yourself, you need to complete an appearance form.

If you don’t hire an attorney, you will need to file an appearance form that identifies you and allows you to represent yourself in court.You can download an appearance form from the court’s website.You can pick one up from the clerk’s office.You may have to sign it in front of a person.

Step 7: Go to the office.

You need to bring your original and copies of your motion to the court clerk’s office.The courthouse is where you want your motion to be heard.Most of the time, you’ll be going back to the court that issued the original order.You can file your motion by mailing it to the clerk.It’s best to go in person to avoid delays.

Step 8: Pay all applicable fees.

Fees are not charged for filing a motion in some courts.It will be less than $50 if there is a filing fee.Call the clerk’s office to find out if you can check the court website.What methods of payment are accepted if there is a fee?Many clerk’s offices don’t accept credit cards.

Step 9: If you can’t afford the fees, apply for a fee waiver.

You don’t have to pay court fees if you have lower income.Information about your income and household expenses are required for you to apply.You can get an affidavit at the clerk’s office.The clerk may need to see your signature.You may need to appear before a judge when you turn in your affidavit.To appear before a judge, wear appropriate clothing if you’re applying for a fee waiver.

Step 10: You should get a hearing date.

The clerk will set your motion for hearing on the court’s calendar.Unless you specifically ask for one, others don’t schedule hearings.When the judge will hear your motion, ask the clerk.Try to get the date moved while you are in the clerk’s office.It might be difficult to have it changed later.Some judges only hear motions on certain days.Ask the clerk about the local procedure.Live testimony from you and the other person is expected in some courts.You have to get permission to speak to the judge about your motion in other courts.

Step 11: The other person should be served.

When you file a motion, you must let the other person know so they can defend themselves.The sheriff’s deputy or Marshall will usually deliver the court papers to the other person.You will have to pay a small fee to have the documents served.If you were granted a fee waiver, it may cover your service fees as well.If you have a waiver of service agreement with them, you don’t need to serve them.If you don’t know if they’ve nixed service, have them served anyway.

Step 12: Take your documents and evidence with you.

You will have to prove to the judge that the other person violated the court order.You will need to show proof that the person violated the order.You will need to prove that the order was issued, the other person knew about it, and the person violated it.A copy of the order can be used to prove its existence.If the other person signed the order or appeared in court, that shows they were aware of it.It depends on what the order required.You might use your child support and bank statements if you’re filing for contempt.

Step 13: Arrive at court early.

On the day of your hearing, you want to get there with plenty of time to find the right courtroom and take a seat before court begins.You’ll need to get through security at the courthouse entrance and go to the clerk’s office to find out which courtroom you’re supposed to be in.Conservative clothing is clean and presentable.If you don’t know if what you’re planning is appropriate, most courts have dress code rules on their website.You will need only documents or other items in court.Don’t bring any devices that can make noise or disturb the court.

Step 14: There is a seat in the gallery.

If you find the right courtroom, sit in the chairs or benches behind the bar.The attorneys and parties who are speaking to the judge at the front of the courtroom have tables reserved for them.If there are long benches, try to sit next to the aisle so you can get up and move quickly.

Step 15: Stand and approach when your name is called.

Once the judge takes the bench, they will start listing off the cases they’re supposed to hear.Stand and say “Ready” when you hear your name.When the judge moves you to the front, you should gather your belongings and move to one of the tables.The person you accuse of violating the court order should be present as well.You usually win by default if they didn’t show up.A bench warrant can be issued for their arrest.

Step 16: Tell the judge your story.

The judge may ask you questions based on the paperwork you’ve filed with the clerk, or they may expect you to brief them on your motion.Speak loudly so that you can be heard in the courtroom.The judge should be addressed as “Your Honor.”Speak only after the judge gives you permission to do so, and then immediately stop talking.You should speak to the judge, not the other person.You can call the other person as a witness and ask them questions directly.If you want to give documents to the judge, hold them out for the bailiff.The documents will be taken to the judge.Don’t approach the bench yourself.

Step 17: Listen to what the other person has to say.

If the other person shows up, they will be asked for any defenses they have against your claims.The judge can ask them questions based on the motion you’ve filed.The other person may ask you questions if they call you as a witness.This back-and-forth questioning between the parties will be limited by most judges.Don’t interrupt the other person.If they say something that you want to comment on, raise your hand and wait for the judge to acknowledge you and grant you permission to speak.

Step 18: Wait for the judge’s ruling.

The judge will decide whether to charge the person with contempt after hearing from both sides.They can either issue judgment and sanctions from the bench or take the papers and make a decision later.If the judge makes a decision later, you’ll be told to return to the court clerk’s office and get a copy of the order.