What Does Held In Contempt Mean?

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Held In Contempt - Held In Contempt Meaning - What Does It Mean To Be Held In Contempt - What Does Held In Contempt Mean

What Does It Mean To Be Held In Contempt

What does it mean to be held in contempt? 

Someone gets held in contempt for disobeying or disrespecting a judge or court processes

The person committing these actions gets “held in contempt.”

Being held in contempt leads to fines and imprisonment

What Does Contempt Of Court Mean?

Contempt of court is disrupting the court proceedings or disobeying court orders

Held In Contempt Meaning

When you are held in contempt, it means you:

  • disrupted court proceedings
  • disobeyed court orders

After your contempt of court is recognized by the judge, you will be held in contempt. 

Meaning you will be held responsible for your actions

Being “held in contempt” means that you are getting any of the following:

  • jail time
  • fines
  • misdemeanor or felony
  • modification of court orders

You will be “held in contempt” until the contempt of court punishment is delivered

What Is Contempt Of Court In Family Law?

Contempt of court in family law is when someone intentionally disobeys a court order. 

In family law, someone is held in contempt if they:

  • don’t pay child support
  • don’t pay alimony
  • violate a domestic violence protective order
  • violate a child custody order
  • don’t show up for visitation
  • blocking visitation from the other parent
  • not returning your child to the other parent
  • parental kidnapping

Contempt Of Court Punishment

Contempt of court punishment is:

  • imprisonment for up to 30 days
  • fines up to $500
  • misdemeanor charges
  • felony charges
  • modification of court orders (i.e., child custody orders)

The contempt of court punishment depends on the type of contempt

For civil contempt, the common contempt of court punishments are:

  • imprisonment
  • fines
  • modification of court orders

For criminal contempt, the common contempt of court punishments are:

  • imprisonment for up to 30 days
  • fines up to $500
  • misdemeanor charges
  • felony charges
  • modification of court orders (i.e., child custody orders)

Punishment For Contempt Of Court In Family Court

Punishment for contempt of court in family court depends on the type of contempt

There is civil contempt and criminal contempt of court in family court. 

Civil contempt of court in family court refers to non-monetary actions

For example, it’s civil contempt of court if you miss visitation schedules. 

Criminal contempt of court in family court refers to monetary actions

For example, it’s criminal contempt of court if you don’t pay child support.

The punishment for contempt of court in family court if it’s civil contempt is:

  • imprisonment up to 30 days
  • fines up to $500
  • modification of court orders (visitation or custody)

The punishment for contempt of court in family court if it’s criminal contempt is:

  • imprisonment for up to 30 days
  • fines up to $500
  • misdemeanor charges
  • felony charges
  • modification of court orders (i.e., child custody orders)

Being Held In Contempt

Let’s talk about the consequences of being held in contempt. 

Disobeying a family court order will cause you to get held in contempt. 

The consequences for being held in contempt include fines and jail time

But the severity of consequences depends on the court order you are breaking. 

Let’s say a restraining order or domestic violence protective order gets broken. 

This is considered a Class A1 misdemeanor

And this is punishable by up to 150 days in jail

A second violation of these protective orders is a Class H felony

This is punishable by up to 33 months in prison

Being held in contempt for violating child custody and support can lead to:

  • fines
  • prison time

This contempt of court punishment is not the first action the courts will take

They will give you warnings and fines before they send you to prison. 

For example, let’s say you don’t pay child support. 

The courts will make you pay a lump sum of the missed payments

And they may fine you for missing them. 

But if you don’t make up the payments, they will send you to jail

How Long Can You Be Held In Contempt Of Court

How long you can be held in contempt ranges from a couple of days up to 33 months in jail

How long you can be held in contempt of court depends on:

  • the court process that you violated
  • the judge that holds you in contempt

For minor civil contempt, you could just receive a warning. 

For repeated offenses, you could get held in contempt until court orders are modified

For example, let’s say you never show up for child visitation. 

The judge will change the custody orders. 

Once that’s complete, you’re no longer held in contempt

But let’s look at major criminal contempt

Let’s say you repeatedly violate restraining orders

You can be held in contempt for up to 33 months of serving jail time

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