COMPLAINT FOR CONTEMPT
Sometimes, the other side doesn’t comply with an Order, Judgment, or Agreement. Such non-compliance can include failing to make child support, ignoring the provisions of a parenting agreement, or failing to fulfill the responsibilities of a divorce agreement to name a few examples. If that party is knowingly and willfully ignoring their responsibilities, in may be necessary to request that the Court intervene and force compliance. This is achieved by filing a Complaint for Contempt. A party filing a contempt complaint is generally seeking relief from the Court in the form of fulfillment of the terms of the order or judgment. Counsel fees and costs may be awarded in some circumstances in a contempt proceeding. In some cases, there may be an issue interrupting the ability of the other side to comply. The problem may be easily resolved with the assistance of an attorney. If the opposing party continues to purposefully ignore the order, then a Capias (civil arrest warrant) may be issued by the Judge under certain circumstances.
Everything involving children may be modified. Depending on the wording, other parts of your Agreement may also be modifiable. In some cases, the parties may agree to modify something in their Judgment or Agreement to accommodate changes in their lives. In the instances where the parties agree to the change, a Joint Petition for Modification can be filed that likely will not require a court appearance.
If the parties do not agree, a Complaint for Modification may be filed suggesting that a provision or provisions of an Agreement or Judgment should be changed. The standard for the Judge to grant a modification is a “substantial and material change in circumstance.” This is most often a job loss or promotion, or a change in custodial arrangement, health insurance coverage, or emancipation of a minor. Even after a complaint is filed, an Agreement can still be reached. In the reverse, if the filing party doesn’t meet the standard, the matter could be ripe for dismissal. Even if there is a substantial and material change in circumstance, the Court will often still consider the “best interest of the child” standard whereby the Judge will need to determine if the requested change is what is best for the child.