You’re in Contempt of Court! How Not to Get Thrown in Jail by Your Divorce Judge

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We’ve all seen the dramatic scene on TV. The court room is packed. Both parties are standing at separate tables.  Their attorneys are hovering close by, whispering in their ears. Then the judge bangs down the gavel and exclaims: “You’re in contempt of court! Sheriff! Take that person away!”

Scenes like that make for great TV.  But, when they happen in real life – especially when they happen to you – you definitely don’t feel so great.

Unfortunately, being held in contempt of court happens in real life all too often.

What is Contempt of Court?

If you’ve never been involved in a court case before (and, maybe even if you have!) you might not really know what being held “in contempt of court” means.

You know it sounds bad. You know it’s not something you necessarily want to have happen to you. But, just what is “contempt of court?”

In the context of a divorce case, being held in contempt of court generally means that one of three things happened:

  • You (or whoever is being held in contempt of court) did something the judge ordered you NOT to do;
  • You (or whoever is being held in contempt of court) DIDN’T DO something the judge ordered you TO DO; or
  • You (or whoever is being held in contempt of court) did something in court that was wildly inappropriate. (For example, swearing at the judge or taking a swing at your ex in open court can both get you held in contempt.)

All of those activities have one thing in common. They show blatant disrespect for the court’s authority. Ultimately it’s disrespect for the court which will cause you to be held in contempt.

(NOTE: Since not doing crazy things in court is fairly self-explanatory, this article will concentrate on the first two reasons people get held in contempt.)

Stern looking older judge looking down from the bench with a law book in front of her.

What if the Court Order Doesn’t Make Sense?

If you’re like most people, the thought of purposely violating a court order probably never entered your mind. You also probably assumed that all court orders “made sense” or “were right.”

Now that you’re going through a divorce though, you may start to see things differently.

Suddenly you may find yourself questioning whether some of the court orders that the judge entered in your case actually are right! Some of them may seem incredibly picky and punitive. Other court orders might not even make sense! (... to you!)

For example, maybe the judge ordered you to pay a crazy amount of child support and you can’t afford it. Or maybe the judge entered a parenting order that you think is unfair. Or maybe the judge ordered you to do something else that you don’t want to do or don’t think is right.

That’s when complying with the court’s orders gets tough.

For example, the judge may have ordered you to sell some of your assets to pay your spouse’s attorney’s fees. Or perhaps s/he ordered you to put your home on the market for sale, when you want to keep it. Or maybe the judge ordered you to produce documents that you can’t find or that you don’t believe exist.

When any of those things happens, and the judge enters an order that you think is wrong or unfair, you may start thinking that the judge is biased against you.

Here’s the truth. None of that matters.

A Court Order is an ORDER!

Court orders are not suggestions. They are commands.

If you’re in court and the judge commands you to do something, you MUST do it. The only exception is if doing whatever the judge ordered is absolutely impossible.

So, if a judge orders you to pay child support in a certain amount, you need to pay that amount of child support. If a judge orders you to maintain a certain parenting schedule, or to turn over certain documents, you need to do what the judge ordered you to do. Otherwise, you can be held in contempt of court.

Of course, if you think the judge’s order was wrong, you (or your lawyer) may be able to ask the judge to reconsider his or her ruling. In certain very limited situations, you may be able to appeal a judge’s order.

But, as long as the order stands in your case, you either need to comply with it or face the consequences. Whether you agree with the court order or not is entirely irrelevant.

Judge's gavel sits on top of handcuffs shows the penalty for contempt of court.

What Happens When You are Held in Contempt of Court?

What are the consequences for violating a court order?

Like with so many other things involved in divorce, the answer is: It depends!

First, it depends on exactly what you did (or didn’t) do. It also depends on whether what you did was intentional or not.

For example, there’s a big difference between dropping off the kids 15 minutes late because you were stuck in traffic and dropping them off five hours late the day they’re supposed to go on vacation with your ex so they miss their flight!

Another thing that matters is the number of times you violated a certain court order. For example, being late with the child support check once may be excusable. Being late every week is not.

Another thing that matters is whether you have a pattern of violating court orders in general. For example, maybe you don’t repeatedly violate the same court order, but you consistently ignore many court orders. That kind of behavior will also get you held in contempt of court.

The final thing that makes a HUGE difference in whether you’re held in contempt of court or not is the judge who is presiding in your case. Some judges will cut you some slack. Others are not so forgiving.

What Are the Penalties for Being in Contempt of Court?

The penalties for violating court orders can range from having the judge reprimand you in court, to putting you in jail. You may have to pay a fine. Or, you may have to give your spouse extra parenting time to make up for keeping your kids when you weren’t supposed to do so.

But violating court orders can also have bigger implications than the just being held in contempt of court.

Violating a court order regarding scheduling and parenting issues can negatively affect your ability to get custody of your child. It may also affect when and how often you get to see your child.

In addition, violating any court order may result in your having to pay all of the court costs and attorney’s fees your spouse incurred in enforcing the court’s order.

Finally, violating a court order may also affect the judge’s perception of you, and how honest and credible you are. That, in turn, can affect the outcome of your entire case. (If the judge doesn’t believe what you say, you’re not likely to win any argument that requires the judge to believe that you’re telling the truth.)

Man in the witness stand holding his head while attorney talks to judge on the bench

If Following Court Orders is So Important Why Won’t the Judge Hold My Spouse in Contempt When S/He Doesn’t Do What S/he is Supposed to Do?

By this point you probably understand just how important it is to follow court orders. What may not be so clear, though, is why when your SPOUSE doesn’t follow court orders, nothing seems to happen.

Again, the answer is: it depends.

First of all, contempt findings don’t happen by themselves. In order to get your spouse held in contempt of court, your lawyer has to file a petition asking the court to hold your spouse in contempt. Filing that motion takes time and costs money. Getting that motion heard in court takes more time and costs more money.

Sometimes it would cost so much money to get your spouse held in contempt of court that doing that doesn’t make economic sense. So your lawyer doesn’t do it.

Even if your lawyer does ask the judge to hold your spouse in contempt of court, the judge him/herself may not think that your spouse’s violation was serious enough to justify a finding of contempt. Or the judge may think that whatever happened was an accident or was something your spouse couldn’t control or just couldn't do.

Or the judge may just feel like cutting your spouse a break that day!

All of those things and more might be the reason your spouse ISN’T held in contempt of court.  When that happens, you probably feel like the court is being unfair.

Why do YOU have to follow the rules when your SPOUSE doesn’t?

That's a great question. Since the answer depends on the facts of your case, it's a question only your lawyer can answer.

But what’s most important to remember is that, even if your spouse DIDN’T follow the rules, that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore the rules too. (Sorry!) Remember: court orders are ORDERS!

How to Avoid Being Held in Contempt of Court

So, what’s the best way to avoid being held in contempt of court?

Do what the judge says.

(Yes. It really is that simple!)

Of course, another way to avoid being held in contempt of court is to stay out of court in the first place! That’s because the only one who can hold you in contempt of court is a judge.

So, if you and your spouse are mediating your divorce and neither one of you has filed in court yet, you can’t be held in contempt of court. The same thing is true if you’re pursuing a Collaborative Divorce.

(Be careful though! Once your divorce case has been filed in court, you CAN be held in contempt even if you you’re going through mediation at the same time too!)

The bottom line is that once your case is in the court system, you MUST follow the court’s rules. You MUST obey court orders - whether you agree with them or not.

That’s really the only way to be sure you’ll avoid being held in contempt of court.


Wondering What to Wear to Court? CLICK HERE to read: Dressing for Success – What to Wear to Court.


This article was originally posted in March, 2014 and updated on October 13, 2021.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


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  • I have been divorced for 16 months my ex husband was suppose to sell the house expeditiously. In witch he has not done. We have been to court 3 times we are now on number 4. How can the judge in force him to sell the house?

    • Oh my! Unfortunately, what you are describing is not that uncommon.

      The best thing you can do is to continue to work with your lawyer to get your husband to do what he was supposed to do months and months ago. I know it’s crazy. But, clearly, your husband has no incentive to sell the house. All you can do is keep trying to get the judge to force him to do so.

      Sorry. I wish I had better news.

      • I am in breach of undertaking by calling my ex partner a fat lump of lard when the court order states all messege are to be civil & business like likely is prison…kind regards

    • I do not want to live at my dads and we are in the middle of going to court he is forcing me to see him even though it is against my health…and to top it off the person who sexually assaulted me live less then a 100 feet away from me and I’m I’m the middle of a court case for that. Is there any possible way for me to not have to go back until our court date. I am 16.

      • I wish I could answer you, but you’re asking legal questions I can’t answer online or outside the state of Illnois. I STRONGLY suggest you talk to a lawyer about this. If nothing else, talk to the attorney who is prosecuting the sexual assault case. Hopefully s/he can help!

    • These courts are all crooked. They only care about enriching their friends who they know when they were lawyers. The whole system is a scam. The more money you make the more they will take from you at Temp orders. They have no ability to read or write and do not follow the law at all. This is really a criminal cartel and you will be processed through their system as unfairly as possible to maximize attorney billable hours. They are all on the take, will not respect you if you represent yourself. They have no morals and will make sure that their ruling will lead to more money for the attorneys. Make no mistake that your kids will come last and their orders will ruin your children’s lives and create strife between your former spouse. The whole system needs to be erased. Its a failure. Shame on the whole system and those that profit off the lives and happiness of children

      • Sorry, but that’s a legal question. The answer depends on your specific situation, what your court documents say, and the law of the state you’re in. You need to check with a good divorce attorney in your area for the answer to that question.

    • I am scared during this pandemic I have not had son visit his father for safety issues. We both have high risk individuals and multiple family members in our homes. I am so afraid that my judge will switch custody and toss me in jail but I am just trying to protect our son and all other individuals. I have offered make-up time and encouraged Skype everyday so he still has access. These are extenuating times and hoping a judge will see that . I did file. Temporary order asking for our son to stay in one home until cases lower and it is safe to go out. Offering more time to makeup for lost time and going back to our order once time is made up. I cannot afford a lawyer and it is so hard to find I lawyer willing to do for free. I really do not know what to.

      • Oh my! I can hear how anxious you are. It sounds like you’re trying your best to have your son spend time with his dad, even if it’s only virtual right now. I know that’s not optimal. But at least it’s something.

        I wish I could tell you what a judge will do in your case, but I really have no idea. It depends on where you live and who is your judge. Hopefully, your ex-husband will be understanding and won’t take you back to court after the quarantine is over.

        Meanwhile, you may want to check around your area for lawyers who give free consultations. Also, check any divorce support groups or divorce organizations in your area. I know that some organizations are offering free 15 minute sessions with lawyers during the CoVid 19 crisis so that people like you can get their questions answered. So, check around. Maybe you can find someone who can at least answer your questions.

        Hang in there. Do your best.

        Good luck.


  • My kids dad did a motion for unsupervised visits on July 9 I got in the mail n now he went to court on the 26th of July which I didn’t know. About now he wants me held in concempt

  • My husband has been in contempt of court for 4 months for failing to pay the mortgage, maintenance, and our children’s copays. However my ex has moved to Florida and Never appears in court. What should my lawyer be doing to enforce this contempt of court motion? If my husband Never steps into NY again how can The courts, my lawyer or myself get him to follow the courts orders? He now lives in Florida but refuses to give anyone his address. Do I need to contact Florida law enforcement?

    • I wish I could answer your questions, but all of them are legal questions. The answers depend on the law of the state that you are in. Since I’m not licensed to practice law in NY or Fla, I can’t tell you what you can, can’t, should, or shouldn’t do in those states.

      What I can tell you is that if you’re not convinced that your lawyer is doing everything s/he possibly can to enforce the contempt of court motion, you should get a second opinion about that from a different lawyer in your area. That lawyer should be able to answer your questions.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help.


      • My divorce decree was finalized two years ago and I gave her the two family house and was supposed to give her half of my retirement but because of life change circumstances I had to use the money because I was paying child support for three children at the time. Is there anything I can do. She filed a contempt order on me.

        • That’s a legal question I can’t answer online or outside of Illinois. But you DEFINITELY need to ask that question of a good divorce lawyer in your area … and the sooner the better! You need good legal advice asap!

  • My wife and I are In a tough spot. Our 12 almost 13 year old daughter is refusing to visit her biological dad due to fear of being alone with him. He has a history of abuse mental and physical. He has been filing contempt of court on my wife but our daughter is not budging to go. Our attorney hasn’t been much help other than trying to get us in front of a judge to modify visitation. We are worried my wife will get jail time for not forcing our teen to go with him but we are not going to turn her over to him with his history. My daughter is making this choice but my wife may pay a price. Any advise on this would be appreciated thanks.

    • You are in such a difficult spot. I wish I had easy answers for you, but the truth is: there aren’t any easy answers.

      The key here is convincing the judge that your daughter’s concerns are legitimate and that it is not your wife who is keeping your daughter away from her biological father.

      I know it will cost money, but if you can get an attorney appointed for your daughter – someone who will listen to her and advocate for her – that would be optimal. I would also make sure that your lawyer has as much hard evidence of your daughter’s biological father’s abuse as possible.

      Another idea may be to get the judge to talk to your daughter. Be warned though – many judges will not talk to children directly for a variety of (good) reasons. Still, that may be worth a try. Definitely talk to your attorney about that. (And don’t do something that’s against your attorney’s advice! All I’m doing is trying to brainstorm ideas here. Because I’m not licensed to practice law in your state so I can’t give you legal advice or tell you whether these ideas will actually work.)

      Another idea: see if you can get the judge to order your daughter and her biological father to go to family reunification therapy before making her spend time with her father. If you can get a therapist involved in the case, and the therapist gets what’s going on, the therapist may be able to help the judge see the truth of the situation. At the very least, the therapist may be able to help your daughter set boundaries with her biological father, and get the father to respect those boundaries. (You can always hope!)

      Finally, I know it is small consolation, but, if your wife does pay the price for your daughter’s choice, at least she will know that she is doing it to protect her. I know that doesn’t help or change anything if your wife ends up in jail. But at least she’s doing things for the right reasons.

      I wish you the best.


  • my cousin who 70 yrs. old has been separated from his wife for many decades, his children are in their 40’s, she has the house, she still keeps taking him to court to get more money, and this time she had him arrested and is now in jail on a 5 month sentence. How can this be? This is insane. I myself am 69 yrs. old and never heard of this in any state except for here in PA.

  • My husband is technically in contempt of court.
    The decree says his ex wife will take the kids to school in the mornings, but she was refusing to open the door to the kids to let them in until 6:30 am on the dot. He gave her a 2 weeks notice of his schedule changes and that he would have to drop them off earlier, or else he’d be late. She made him late multiple times to work in one week and he was being told he would lose his job if it continues.

    Now I take the girls to school to cut out the middle man.

    She’s threatening to take him to court and that someone is going to show up to his work because of this????

    • Here’s the unfortunate truth. Whether your husband is or isn’t in contempt of court, his ex-wife can still take him back to court if she wants to do so. (Sorry!) Of course, that doesn’t mean she’ll win. But my guess is you’d rather avoid that whole ordeal if you can.

      Your best bet at this point would be to talk to a lawyer in your area proactively and find out what your options are, and what chances of success his ex-wife would have if she does file a motion against him. You need legal advice, and I can’t give you that online or outside the state of Illinois. I’m sorry.

    • I’m going through a divorce we have been married 12 years with two children. She took out an orderof protection on me with no contact she texted me and I texted back I was thrown in jail for contempt. We went before the judge my lawyer asked her flat out if I would harm her or my children she said no I don’t think he would dismissed with prejudice. I had to go for the contemt a week later.the district attorney wife works with mine in the school system and he wanted a no contact other than about the kids the judge went with that parenting plan hearing came and I was ordered to vacate my home so her and my kids could go home it has been 3 weeks it’s freezing hear in Tennessee and I’ve been sleeping in my vehicle and she has yet to go back home and is refusing to let me see or talk to my kids like we agreed further more she censors our phone calls and won’t give them gifts I’ve gotten them aswell as texting me about things other than the kids and I have respond ed I don’t know what to do my lawyer is somewhatindifferrent and :feel the whole system is by as I am out of money and my lawyer is threatening to drop my case what do I do

      • Oh my! I wish I could help you. But you need a good divorce lawyer if you want to start enforcing your agreements and making progress.

        If the lawyer you have isn’t working for you, I would look for another lawyer. Many lawyers give free consultations. That would be a place to start. See if you can find a better lawyer. Or talk to the lawyer you have and see why he is indifferent. (NOTE: He may not be indifferent. It may just be that you owe him money. If you pay him, he may become more interested. I know that sounds cold. But no one is willing to work for free. So if it’s just a question of money, then you probably need to find the money and pay a lawyer.)

        I know this probably isn’t what you want to hear. I apologize. But the truth is, with the way your case has been going and the things your wife is doing, NOT having a lawyer will ultimately cost you more than paying a lawyer will now. You NEED representation. This is not the type of divorce case you can handle yourself. (Or, at least, you won’t be able to handle it well.)

        Sorry. Wish I had better news.

  • Hi, I am Petitioner pro se in an Oregon Dissolution. It is month 13 and I have been granted 2 contempt orders; Spousal Support and Production of Docs. The evidence is blatant disregard and I have garnished my husbands attorneys trust account. My question is that my knowledge of law of evidence and objecting has had me sitting in the hall more times than the judge appears by person.

    Do you have any pointers on what the key points to focus on, ask that the judge consider when ruling and if there is any chance of the court acting as the bank and the both of us motioning for money.

    • I’m sorry, but those are all legal questions. The only pointer I have is that you can hire an attorney in Oregon to spend an hour or two with you explaining the law of evidence in Oregon. I can’t give you legal advice online or outside Illinois. Sorry.

  • I was advised by prosecutor that in order to get a no contact order against my grandkids bio mom that id first have to file an harrassment charge, which is what I did. Our sons in prison and ex daughter in law was released to a re-entry center. She started making contact with 9 and 11 yr olds behind our back and when we attempted to take them to visit at Christmas we didnt stay bc she did clear visitors she wanted the girls to see in advanced. She totally disrespects the courts authority and the role it gave us. She thinks she should have unsupervised access to kids (thier phone numbers have already had to ve changed) and that she should decide who the kids visit. Not my husband and me, who have full gaurdianship/ custody. So long story sorry but the officer said he was filing it under contempt of court not harrassment, even though she is guilty of both. Can officers file contempt of court report and then next question what do I do with it?

    • What you’re asking is a legal question that I can’t answer online or outside the state of Illinois. I suggest that you find a good family lawyer in your area. S/he should be able to answer your questions.


  • My ex and I differ on religion. They’re it’s nothing in our Parenting Plan covering religion. We’re both in Ohio. My children after the divorce wanted to receive 1st Communion. They’ve already attended Catholic PSR classes, received 1st confession (she knew about it and didn’t go or ask), so at 2 different times (~1month apart) they told me they wanted to receive communion. There was initially during the divorce a typical ceremony scheduled with all the normal formalities including both families and she at the last minute requested it be stopped…I acquiesced to her request. 1 year after she found out they both received communion (both children received informally meaning they just walked up and received like all other parishioners)… again a year later we were discussing who has the children for Halloween (keep in mind the children were 11 & 13 when they told me they wanted to receive communion), when we couldn’t agree and defaulted to the contract it ended in my favor. On the phone she said in anger “You must want to spend money this holiday… I’m taking you to court!” I believed her and thought it would all be over Halloween (w/kids 11 &13….. the 1st communion stuff was between early January and late February that same year). But when I received the contempt of court it was over 1st Communion? It’s true no one contacted her me or the children…I didn’t because she doesn’t take them to their classes, to church, confession… and doesn’t pay for any of it either. Why the children didn’t contact her…I can only speculate. I in no way made or coerced my children into their decision. With all of that I ask you, she wants not to enforce jail time (1st contempt for me?), but to pay the lawyer fees, court fines and fees and to agree to contempt. There’s nothing about religion in our document… they’re claiming religion falls under “extra-curricular activities” (which is in our document) ….and general common sense. What harm befalls me if I don’t believe I’m in contempt, but sout to make this crap go away? … my lawyer says he doesn’t feel I’m in contempt…. and should never agree to contempt…. but also said he realized there are many other factors effecting his client’s decisions… but if I accept contempt it will be against his advice. –> Your thoughts?

    • Listen to your attorney.

      I can’t give you legal advice online or outside the state of Illinos. Legal advice is definitely what you need. Under the circumstances all I can say is to talk to a good divorce attorney in your area (which I assume is the one you hired!)


  • My husband plans to file contempt because i have not been able to obtain my credit report for previous years so he can try to wiggle out of a tax liability. It was part of the separation agreement the court approved. I have made an effort but can only obtain the last two years. Should i worry that the judge will hold me in contempt?

  • Hi,
    My ex wife and I share equal custody-visitation at 50-50% of our daughter.
    Mother has decided to get braces for my daughter without any communication with myself. She gave me 1 months notice to pay my share of half of the account.
    Mother has put my name on the Orthodontists account, along with hers.
    Is she able to do this? Does this make me financially liable to the orthodontist?
    If I am unable to pay, will this be considered contempt of court?

    • I wish I could answer your questions, but they are legal ones that I can’t answer online or outside of the state of Illinois. Whether you’re in contempt of court depends on a lot of factors, including what your divorce judgment says (which I haven’t read).

      The wisest thing you could do is to get some legal advice from a good divorce lawyer in your area.


  • I have been divorce since August 2018. My ex husband refuse to pay his part of the medical expenses etc for our daughter. He frequently don’t pick her up on the days he is to have her. Also frequently takes her out of town and state and won’t tell me prior to doing so and it’s in the divorce order to tell me where the visitations are to take place. Everything is outlined in the divorce court orders. What can I do? Arkansas

    • If you want to enforce a court order, you’ve got to go back to court to do it.

      If you are going back to court, I recommend getting help from a good divorce attorney in your area. Trying to pursue a contempt of court petition on your own can work, but it can also be frustrating and time-consuming. You will have a much better chance of success if you get help from an attorney.


  • I’m in disbelief still over my ongoing divorce struggle. At first, I filled, he lied on his financial declaration to the extreme and made false accusations. Judge ordered me to pay everything temporarily. I did then filed Motion for Modification where he provided an amended declaration but he just reversed numbers around. Now, $20,000 later, still fighting for divorce and he’s holding me in contempt because I couldn’t pay one house payment before I moved out. Now I have to defend myself because of his lies. Could my attorney not of filed contempt on him for lying on his financial declaration again when she had the chance to avoid actions on me?? How to defend??

    • Oh my! That sounds like a mess! I wish I could help you, but what you need is a legal opinion, which I can’t give you online or outside of the state of Illinois. What you CAN do, though, is to get a second opinion about your case from a local divorce attorney in your area. That second attorney can tell you your options.



  • Im currently being held in contempt of court, because my spouse lied on a TPO, stating that her income is 1600 per month, she lied that I was makeing 15,000 per month. I have her bank statements that prove she makes in excess of 20k per month but the judge wont allow that into evidence. Because my wife was having an affair with a deputy(later dismissed), she had him write a ag stalking warrant. Signed by this same judge. This caused additional hard ship of loosing my job. Judge keeps adding up bills on me while i sit in jail.

        • I don’t know that most lawyers are afraid of going against a judge. The problem is that the judge is the one who gets to decide what happens. So, a lawyer can try to persuade a judge to agree with him/her. But if the judge doesn’t agree, you’re kind of stuck.

          You need to find a strong lawyer who will advocate for you and try to persuade the judge to agree with him/her.


  • My ex-husband filed a motion (Illinois) to reduce his child support responsibility. Instead of letting the case go to trial, which I could not afford, I have together with an attorney agreed to a reduced percentage from his most recent net income (which he purposefully reduced in preparation for his motion). I had asked my attorney to place a stipulation that my ex will need to pay that same percentage of any income earned above the sum was used to calculate his current obligation.
    This is included in a current valid court order, as well as the fact that he has to provide me with his complete tax return (W3, 1099) info by April 15th, and any money owed within 30 days after that. He has failed to do so for the second year in a row, claiming that I have no right to see his current wife’s information as they filed jointly. I believe he has to follow the order and if he didn’t want me to see her information, they should have filed separate returns. Do I have grounds for filing a motion of contempt? I have previously filed (without a lawyer) a motion to compel communication through a parenting application and have been granted that by the judge. I am not sure if or how much money I could potentially get, and I can’t afford to spend a large sum in order to retain legal counsel. But I do want to make it known to my ex that following court orders is not optional for him, and that I will insist on him following through with his responsibilities.

    • I can feel your pain! Unfortunately, enforcing court orders costs money, and you often don’t know whether you’re going to spend more than you may receive.

      As for whether you have grounds for contempt or not, that’s a legal question that I can’t answer online, or without seeing all of the orders that have been filed in your case. I know lawyers can be expensive, but consulting with a good divorce lawyer in Illinois will be the best way for you to get questions answered and know your next steps.

      Sorry I can’t be of more assistance.


  • I have had several court orders and my ex husband has been in violation of the Court Order. I’ve filed a motion for him to sign the quitclaim deed and order him to leave me alone.

  • the court has ordered me today to compel and to provide 7 years of several banks( closed accounts 2 years ago) statements. I don’t have money and I am unable to get bank statements, If they file motion for court order contempt, what are the worst things that can happen.
    1) will they send me to jail, if so for how many days
    2) what does sanctions mean
    3) property division in Texas is at least 50/50 I believe, will this compel order effect in fair property division

    • I wish I could tell you but I’m not licensed to practice law in Texas, so I can’t answer your question.

      I STRONGLY recommend you consult with a good Texas attorney asap about this! Many lawyers give free consultations. Even if you have to pay, though, it will be worth the money!

  • I am one year post divorce, following five years of litigation. The divorce was extremely contentious and expensive. My x just served me with an emergency motion for indirect contempt which was thrown out by the judge; the hearing was rescheduled for December 20th, 2019 in Cook County. I just received another motion for next week, December 4th by opposing attorney but this makes no sense since the judge ordered this to be heard on December 20th. I do not have an attorney and was going to submit my response with all my documentation to support me. This primarily has to do with exchange of personal possessions, which I no longer have in my possession as well release of titles. The emergency motion was based on my contacting his private disability asking to be included in his settlement which he did not disclose he had been working on during the divorce. I voluntarily said I would stop contacting him and the judge ordered that I no longer do so and rescheduled the remainder of the issues to December 20th. My x is an anesthesiologist who no longer works, collects a large private disability which was considered marital and I receive a portion. He was diagnosed with NPD, is an opiate addict and alcoholic. Do I need an attorney to represent me on the December 20th date. I also have some expenses he did not disclose at the time of the divorce and the MSA stated we were supposed to declare any and all.

    • I can’t give you legal advice online, even though you live in Cook County. What I can tell you is: 1) Yes! You need an attorney; and 2) NEVER miss a court date.

      I have no idea if any motion will be heard in your case on Dec. 4 or not. But if so, you MUST be there. (That’s another reason to consult with an attorney about all of this!)

      Even if you end up representing yourself, you still need legal advice. That means you need to at least consult with an attorney about all of this. I STRONGLY suggest you do so asap.


      PS Sometimes, especially over holiday weekends, it takes me a while to get through and respond to all the comments here. If your court date has already passed, you weren’t there, and you don’t know FOR SURE what happened, then you need to talk to an attorney even faster! (Sorry!)

    • Hi I am being help in contempt of court for not paying a debt collector. The last time I paid them they took ALL my money and I had to move in with a family member… I stopped working a real job and start serving so they can stop taking all my money…they coming after me again and I have a real job… what can I do for them not to take all my money? I really need this money can I Negotiate with them when I go to court and give them A specific amount to pay them or can I do bankruptcy on them after court?

      • It sounds like you could really use some legal advice. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing I can’t give you online or outside the state of Illinois.

        I STRONGLY suggest that you consult with a bankruptcy and/or debt collection lawyer in your area so that you can learn what you can do in your circumstances.

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