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Contempt of Court

Denver Divorce Attorney Explains Contempt Charges in Colorado

Contempt of court refers to any behavior which opposes or defies the court's authority. Contempt charges may be brought against an individual or their lawyers or individuals who insert themselves into legal proceedings. With family law matters, civil contempt typically involves the failure to perform an act that was ordered by the court; for example, when a parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support, he or she may be held in contempt of court.

What happens after a contempt of court citation is filed?

A direct contempt is an act that occurs in the presence of the court and can include refusing to answer questions by a judgeor an attorney while under oath, whereas an indirect contempt can occur outside of the courtroom but its intention is to belittle, mock or otherwise interrupt or degrade the court's proceedings. One such example can include withholding evidence.

In Colorado, it's common for one party in a divorce or family law case to file a contempt of court citation against the other party in a case. When someone files a contempt citation against you, this means that he or she is asking the judge to penalize you because they believe that you have violated one or more provisions of a court order, which a decision is issued by the court. In such a case the court would issue the citation and order that you appear in court on a certain date to show cause, or otherwise explain why the court should not hold you in contempt.

Once you have received such a citation, you must appear in court at the time and date listed on the citation, if you fail to appear, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. You have a right to be represented by a Denver divorce attorney, and you should take advantage of this opportunity.

At the hearing the burden of proof will be on the other party to prove that you are in violation of a court order. If the judge finds that you have willfully violated a court order, the judge can punish you by imposing fines, jail time, or both. Your punishment can also be suspended providing that conditions are imposed such as complying with the court's order.

Contact Sturniolo & Associates!

In many cases contempt citations are resolved through negotiations between the attorneys. If you reach an agreement with the other party, it's important to be sure that the agreement is in writing, signed by everyone and given to the court, or that the agreement goes on the court's record.

Whether you are being accused of being in contempt of court or if the other party is in contempt and you wish to take them to court, please contact a Denver divorce attorney from Sturniolo & Associates for legal advice. We can be reached at (303) 732-5010 for a free, 10 minute phone consultation.

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