Motions for Contempt in Utah Divorce Cases

From the beginning of a contested divorce case in Utah the chances are that one or both parties will not like what the other party is doing.  The court gets involved to establish some ground rules and puts in place temporary orders and then ultimately a final divorce decree.  The order governs the parties’ actions.  Although a party may not like anything his ex does, there are defined routes that a party must take to get relief.  First, there must actually be a violation of a court order.  If there is, the proper course is to file an order to show cause.

Orders to Show Cause

An order to show cause in a Utah divorce case requires a party to appear before the court to show why he should not be held in contempt of court for violating the court order.  This is done by a party drafting a motion setting forth the alleged violations of the court order.  The motion must be supported by evidence.  Evidence can come in the form of witness affidavits and attached documentation.  The court will set a hearing a date for the OSC.  The opposing party then must file a response to the OSC if he disagrees that he has violated any court orders.  The parties attend a hearing before a court commissioner who will take proffered evidence to determine whether the party should be held in contempt of court.

Consequences of Contempt

The court finds that a party is in contempt of court for violating an order in a divorce case there are a multitude of penalties that can be imposed, the most serious of which is jail time.  Courts typically will not send people to jail for contempt in a family law matter unless the party has repeatedly violated court orders.  A divorce court can also order a party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees and costs as a penalty.  Often times courts will give a party some time to purge contempt.  For example, in cases where a parent fails to pay child support, a court will often order the party to pay a certain amount for a defined period of time and if he does so, the contempt will be purged.

Give our law firm a call if you’re facing an OSC for contempt at 801.413.1753.

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