Maryland Civil Contempt Of Court
Enforce previous court decrees – or defend against bad ones – to guarantee a fulfilling life for you and your loved ones.
What Does ‘Contempt Of Court’ Mean?
Maryland courts make decrees and orders all the time. A judge or Court representative can order someone to show up for a hearing, offer documents as part of an investigation, or pay another party a set sum.
Anyone who fails to follow a court order or directive is “held in contempt of court.” Cases that may be considered contempt of court include:
- Refusing to surrender documents or cooperate with the opposing party during a divorce
- Failure to pay court-ordered payments, including child support and alimony
- Violating court-ordered freezes on bank accounts and other financial assets
Punishments for contempt of court range from simple fines to years’ worth of jail time, depending on the circumstances.
How Can You Enforce A Court Order?
Courts are extremely backed up, especially considering the COVID-19 outbreak that closed courts for months. They may not realize someone is in contempt of a court order or decree if not notified by the offending party.
Therefore, you or your lawyer can file a “motion for contempt of court.” This request for legal action by the court alleges that the offending party has broken the court-ordered agreement.
As part of the motion, your lawyer can also submit documents and other proof to the Court to support your claim. This evidence may be:
- Proof of good-faith efforts to collect court-ordered payments
- Demonstrated reminders and offered help to attend court-ordered hearings
- Dated receipts showing excessive spending from accounts ordered untouched
Your lawyer can best advise how to proceed with a motion for contempt of court to protect your and your family’s rights.
How Can You Fight A Contempt Of Court Charge?
Contempt cases are rarely black-and-white. People who find themselves accused of contempt of court may not have meant to violate court orders, but instead:
- Lost their jobs and failed to tell the court about their change in circumstances
- Made every effort to attend court hearings and meetings, but could not do so due to circumstances outside of their control
- Accidentally messed up the process and legal protocols
People are flawed human beings who deserve respect, compassionate understanding, and competent defense.
If you find yourself the target of a contempt of court charge, the last thing you want to do is dismiss it as unimportant – even if what it asserts is wrong. By ignoring a contempt of court allegation, you will dig yourself into a deep legal hole which will require much time and financial resource to get out of.
Immediately consult with a lawyer as to what you should – and should not – do in the face of a contempt of court charge, and be prepared to demonstrate your willingness to abide by the court’s decisions however your legal representation advises you to do so.
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