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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1 comment on “Motions for Contempt in Utah Divorce Cases


With 3rd district court, a commissioner certifies contempt and certificates attorney fees. One has to then proceed to another hearing for the same issue-an evidentiary hearing.

Hypothetically, if another was certified for contempt in the first hearing for all of the counts but one, and there were nearly a dozen counts, all representing full weeks of lost time

The father asked for a custody evaluator as was granted a custody evaluation which would have just begun.

At this point, would there be any benefit to proceeding by scheduling an evidentiary hearing?

Possible benefits: It would be nice to have it ordered that mother is fully in contempt and maybe a small fine or community service. Also, this is when they would award her fathers attorney fees for the hearings. Mother would also have official contempt on record.

I’m not sure. Would having te custody evaluation in progress render the evidentiary hearing moot?
Would the custody evaluator see it as a bad thing to do?
Or maybe just a useless thing to do and therefore see vengeful behavior?

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