What is the penalty for contempt of court in Georgia?

Penalty for contempt of court in Georgia could be serious. Penalty for contempt of court in Georgia may result in various consequences, including jail time.

What is contempt of court in Georgia?

Contempt of court in Georgia means a willful or intentional violation of a court order, such as a divorce decree.

For example, if the divorce decree ordered a former spouse to pay $700 per month in alimony and that former spouse fails to do so intentionally, that spouse may be in contempt.

Also, acting against the spirit and intent of a court order may be contempt.

For example, if a spouse is ordered to pay alimony in the amount of $700 per month and that paying spouse (out of spite) pays the alimony in pennies, this may be a violation of the spirit and intent of the court’s order regarding alimony.

Filing a motion for contempt is one common way to enforce a court order.

How to file motion for contempt

You would file contempt of court in Georgia to begin the contempt proceeding. Generally, you would file in the same court where the court order at issue was rendered.

For example, if the final judgment and decree of divorce was entered in Cobb County Superior Court, then you would file the contempt action with Cobb County Superior Court. However, there are exceptions to this general rule regarding where to file contempt actions.

Also, a contempt proceeding is not a new civil action. Rather, it is a part of the primary action, such as a divorce case. That is, an action for contempt is a motion in nature.

How to prove contempt

Proving contempt of court in Georgia involves presenting evidence to show that the other party willfully violated the court order.

For example, if the custodial parent intentionally withholds visitation from the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent could file a motion for contempt against the custodial parent. At the contempt hearing, the non-custodial parent would present evidence that shows: (1) the custodial parent withheld visitation; and (2) the custodial parent’s withholding visitation was willful.

Penalty for Contempt of Court in Georgia #1

There are mainly two types of contempt: (1) criminal contempt; and (2) civil contempt.

The court could punish criminal contempt “by fines not exceeding $1,000.00, by imprisonment not exceeding 20 days, or both.” O.C.G.A. § 15-6-8.

Penalty for Contempt of Court in Georgia #2

For civil contempt, the court could order indefinite imprisonment until the contemnor purges himself or herself of the contempt.

For example, let’s say that the mother was ordered to pay child support to the father pursuant to her divorce decree. If the court finds that the mother willfully violated the court order regarding child support, the court could order that the mother be jailed until the mother pays the child support arrearage.

In other words, if the mother has the money but refuses to pay the child support intentionally, the mother might be jailed until she purges herself of the contempt. Basically, the mother would hold the keys to be released from jail.

Attorney’s Fees and Expenses

If you are found in contempt of court in Georgia, the court might order you to pay for the other party’s attorney’s fees and expenses.

If there is a motion for contempt against you, chat with an Atlanta Divorce Lawyer about your options.

Categories Divorce, Steps in Getting a DivorceTags
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