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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2016, 04:59 PM
Ottawasm Ottawasm is offline
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Default Contempt of court in Family law. Any stories?

Hey all,

We're trying to see if contempt is worth the money and time. A lot of issues on pick up, drop off, bringing the child out of town overnight without notice, missing school without reason, missing appointments, not notifying about appointments in general, not sharing information from school, etc etc. All things that are clear in the court order and that the mother does not abide to. Shocking... Not.

I looked online and on the forum but couldn't find much on actual stories and experiences. We know the process and all that now that we have done a bunch of research, but really aren't sure if we should or not, or if so how long we should wait and pile our documentation for. We're in Ottawa if it makes any difference.

Anyone here has any stories on contempt against the other party, in family law, and if it worked or not for you? I know every case is different, but I'm curious to see. TIA for sharing.
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:07 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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I did some research on contempt and its more for denial of access or money issues and even then hard to achieve.

If mom is pulling crap like not sharing info, it may not be worth the money. Remember that you would have to pay costs if you lose.

Many many MANY ex spouses pull this crap. Its frustrating and detrimental to the kids but going to court? Not worth it.
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:15 PM
OrleansLawyer OrleansLawyer is offline
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Quote:
Anyone here has any stories on contempt against the other party, in family law, and if it worked or not for you?
Contempt of court is used as a last resort - both for individuals and for judges.

You may want to try counselling, or a parenting coordinator, before launching into the expenses of a contempt motion.

Judges, at a first offence, may give the party a slap on the wrist. It can then necessitate a further motion contempt motion, with both parties being punished more by the legal fees than judicial sanction.
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:16 PM
Links17 Links17 is offline
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My ex lied to have me thrown in jail - it didnt go very well..

Contempt is a criminal offense so its beyond a resonable doubt and a judge will "help" the individual being charged in some ways since it is a charter right.

1. Your order would need to be explicitly clear and understood.
2. You need to prove she did or did not do the specific acts. Not necessarily that easy
3. You need to probe she did it maliciously or on purpose.

I would suggest that unless it has a major practical impact on life that you just chalk it up to life's lessons.
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:38 PM
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mcdreamy mcdreamy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Links17 View Post

I would suggest that unless it has a major practical impact on life that you just chalk it up to life's lessons.
^Pretty much. Can pick up/drop off be moved to school/day care locations so the parties aren't in direct contact other than via email?

Work towards being as autonomous as possible. Move all communication to email. Contact the schools directly, insist on direct information and all files available to both parents. Ditto with daycare, s7 coaches, etc. Taking a child out of town overnight shouldn't require notice to either party, you don't want to be bound to that restriction either. Your households are tied for the next 30-40 years, try not to let the small stuff drag you down.

What does the dispute resolution clause in the agreement look like - mediation first?

eta: I should have added - school absences, missed doctor appointments, excepted. I'd document all of those days of unexplained absences, late arrivals and missed appointments in your parenting calendar for the next time you appear in a courtroom.

Last edited by mcdreamy; 01-25-2016 at 08:41 PM. Reason: eta-exception.
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:39 PM
Ottawasm Ottawasm is offline
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Thanks all.

Dispute resolution : mediation, yes. Which she has denied twice.

The overnight clause was added by the judge as BM kept refusing access but making the child stay at her grandmother's house (BM's mom).

Counseling is out of the question because of psychological abuse and manipulation (from BM to DH). She also refuses to coparent so they do parallel parenting only.

We already get (or are supposed to) our own copies for school, dentist, etc. School doesn’t comply so far even though we have provided a copy of the c.o.

Drop off/pick up: done at neutral grounds. BM moved 90 minutes away from us 1 week before court last summer therfore making it impossible for us to do drop offs at school (or pick ups).
We even had to fight for neutral grounds as BM is HC and cause conflict in from of the child as well as her other children when it was not on public space.

Police was involved a few times as she refused to meet at the designated place. She also would drive the kid in the front seat, no chil seat (3 years old at the time).

I think you're all right about not letting those things drag us down..so far so good, we document everything but that's it. Kind of sucks how hard it is to have someone respect a court order which was done because of the mother's lack of parenting and refused to cooperate on all aspects.
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:42 PM
Links17 Links17 is offline
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Give it time, an opportunity will present itself... children also grow and form their own opinions and make their own decisions.
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Old 01-27-2016, 07:52 PM
Dadx5 Dadx5 is offline
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I have gone to court for contempt on many of the issues you generally mentioned but would need slight more specific's to help.

You need to be very clear on dates of the breaches. Also what is it you are looking for?

For me mom was actively working to cut me from child's life, and did withhold access but also was found in contempt for things such as not following through with notifying me of medical appointments, for removing child from school.

Your order must state though that these things are not allowed. If it does then you can go for a contempt asking for trial for a finding of contempt. If you receive it you can ask for clauses such as you book the medical appointments, and if the school removal becomes more of an issue it can be used in the long run.

However it is doubtful you would get any financial award. It could make the situation more hostile. It is something that you have to think about before doing, but in my case I am very happy I did as I was being cut from my child's life and now have sole custody.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:05 PM
HappyMomma HappyMomma is offline
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I was forced to file a contempt motion against my ex but it wasn't for access so my experience is not quite as relevant. I filed because my ex refused to sign passport applications which he had agreed to do in our order.

I failed to show contempt - the bar is very high ( it was completely contempt too - he refused to sign). I think judges look for any reason at all to NOT find contempt.

HOWEVER - I got exactly what I asked for which was sole custody for the purpose of applying for and renewing passports. Even though he didn't find contempt, it was clear that there was a real issue that needed to be solved so I got my order. Which was all I cared about anyway so for me it was a victory.

The point is, it may be worth pursuing if there is something specific you are asking for - there's a chance you may get even if you can't prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt' that they are in contempt.

The problem with contempt and access is that they can claim they child was sick or they messed up the time, yada, yada. They can make excuses and since contempt has to be intentional, they wiggle out of the charge.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:08 PM
Ottawasm Ottawasm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dadx5 View Post
I have gone to court for contempt on many of the issues you generally mentioned but would need slight more specific's to help.

You need to be very clear on dates of the breaches. Also what is it you are looking for?

For me mom was actively working to cut me from child's life, and did withhold access but also was found in contempt for things such as not following through with notifying me of medical appointments, for removing child from school.

Your order must state though that these things are not allowed. If it does then you can go for a contempt asking for trial for a finding of contempt. If you receive it you can ask for clauses such as you book the medical appointments, and if the school removal becomes more of an issue it can be used in the long run.

However it is doubtful you would get any financial award. It could make the situation more hostile. It is something that you have to think about before doing, but in my case I am very happy I did as I was being cut from my child's life and now have sole custody.
Thanks for the feedback!
We date and time everything that we document, as well as keep emails and texts for all communications.

The court order does state that both parties are to be made aware if there is an appointment and such. It doesn't say "failure to do so will yadayada", but the points are there.

We're not looking for sole at the moment as the kid has siblings but we want to be made aware of events in the child's life and want the kid to attend school and receive proper education. She may say that the kid was sick but we did note that the child was not sick and quoted his words as "a surprise fun day" and such. We also have the grandmother's quote saying they spent the day together when it was a school day.
We're looking for the order to be reinforced and for her to understand that she can't keep withholding information from DH and trying to minimize contact time. We also have first right of refusal, which she never offers.

The only financial request we would make, is that she pays for the lawyer fees that we have had to paid to bring the contempt forward.
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