Family Law, Criminal Defense & Immigration Attorneys

How Does Being Held in Contempt Work in Missouri?

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for individuals to avoid complying with court orders—especially if they feel their judgment was unjust.

Engaging in a legally binding contract, such as spousal or child support, with an individual who refuses to comply with the court order can be frustrating. Frequently, the only way to ensure the noncompliant individual abides by the court's judgment is to file a contempt order against them.

How Can I Get Someone to Comply with a Court Order?

If you believe that someone engaged in a legally binding contract is acting in contempt of a court order, you can file a motion for contempt. However, the court will only hear your motion for contempt if you meet the following requirements:

  • The noncompliant individual must be aware that they are violating court orders;
  • They must actively refuse to carry out the order; and
  • They must have the means to fulfill the terms of the order.

People frequently refuse to comply with court orders because they do not have the means to comply with them. If this is the case in your scenario, and you are on good terms with the noncompliant individual, you should ask them to file for an order modification to make the requirements of your contract more manageable.

If the noncompliant person meets the above requirements, you should write them a letter notifying them of the court order and your intention to file a motion for contempt. In many cases, the threat of being held in contempt by the court will cause the noncompliant individual to carry out the terms of the court order.

If they refuse, you should file a motion for contempt with your local court with the help of an attorney. If the court rules in your favor, two outcomes are possible:

  • The court will give the individual held in contempt a sentence until they rectify any violations (for example, until they pay back missed child or spousal support); or
  • The court will order the individual held in contempt to formulate a comprehensive repayment plan to rectify their transgressions.

Since incarceration often makes it more difficult for an individual to rectify their noncompliance, most courts will order the noncompliant individual to draft and abide by some sort of repayment plan, rather than sentencing them.

At Smith Law Offices, LLC, our attorneys can help you enforce the terms of your court order. For a consultation, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.

Categories