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Orlando Family Law Attorneys – Contempt Of Court
Contempt arises when a party has failed to comply with the terms of a court order. This order may be a final or temporary order. It may require a party to pay alimony or child support, or to allow certain timesharing with the other parent. It may require other things such as putting a house up for sale or paying a mortgage.
If a party fails to perform as required by a court order, that party may be held in contempt.
A hearing is required to find a party in contempt of a court order. At this hearing, each side is allowed to present evidence and testimony to support their position. After hearing both sides, the Judge will make a decision on the contempt issue.
It is not comfortable to be in court on a motion for contempt. If you are the complaining party, generally you are frustrated because the other side has not performed and you have to spend money to secure performance. If someone seeks to hold you in contempt, you are nervous about the Judge’s determination.
If you have a contempt issue, the DeWitt Law Firm can help you. Whether you want to try to have someone held in contempt or a contempt motion has been brought against you, the DeWitt Law Firm can present your case to the court and can help you through the process.
Notice Prior to Contempt
Pursuant to Rule 12.615(b), Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, “Civil contempt may be initiated by motion. No civil contempt may be imposed without notice to the alleged contemnor and without providing the alleged contemnor with an opportunity to be heard. The civil contempt motion and notice of hearing may be served by mail provided notice by mail is reasonably calculated to apprise the alleged contemnor of the pendency of the proceedings. The notice must specify the time and place of the hearing and must contain the following language: “FAILURE TO APPEAR AT THE HEARING MAY RESULT IN THE COURT ISSUING A WRIT OF BODILY ATTACHMENT FOR YOUR ARREST. IF YOU ARE ARRESTED, YOU MAY BE HELD IN JAIL UP TO 48 HOURS BEFORE A HEARING IS HELD. The motion must recite the essential facts constituting the acts alleged to be contemptuous. Rule 12.615(b), Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.
The Fifth District Court of Appeal has upheld the requirements of Rule 12.615, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure in the case of Dileo v. Dileo, 939 So. 2d 181 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006). Further, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that “it was error for the trial court to order the former husband’s incarceration until payment of the purge amount without first following this procedure [referring to Rule 12.615(b), Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure]. Martyak v. Martyak, 881 So. 2d 48, 50 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004). A person facing civil contempt sanctions is entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard. Akridge v. Crow, 903 So. 2d 346, 350 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005). Chetram v. Singh, 937 So. 2d 716, 719 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006).
“When a request for relief is not requested in the pleadings, nor supported by evidence adduced at a hearing, it is error to award relief on such an issue.” Keitel v. Keitel, 724 So. 2d 1255, 1256 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). “It is well settled that an order adjudicating issues not presented by the pleadings, noticed to the parties, or litigated below denies fundamental due process.” Miller v. Miller, 959 So. 2d 421, 424 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).