To beat contempt of court in Georgia, you need to understand which contempt defenses are available to you. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be several ways to defend against contempt of court.
If your ex filed a motion for contempt against you, call Atlanta Divorce Lawyer to discuss your defenses.
Ways to beat contempt of court in Georgia
First, figure out exactly which court order your ex is alleging that you violated. Then, scrutinize that court order. For example, if your ex is alleging that you did not pay child support despite the child support provision in the final judgment and decree of divorce, read the final judgment and decree very carefully. You need to clearly understand the language of the court order that your ex is saying you violated.
Then, see if one or more of the following defenses applies to your case.
Contempt Defendant #1: Is there a violation?
If your action or inaction is not contrary to the language of the court order, you cannot be held in contempt.
For example, let’s say that your ex is alleging that you are in contempt for not paying alimony. If you did pay your ex alimony, you need to present evidence of this payment.
Contempt Defense #2: Is the violation willful?
For the court to find you in contempt of its order, there has to be a finding of willful or intentional violation of the court order. Thus, if your violation of the court order was due to circumstances completely out of your control, this may be a contempt defense.
For example, let’s say that your ex filed a motion for contempt against you alleging that you did not pay child support. If your failure to pay the child support was due to your inability to pay the child support, you may want to present this defense to the court.
Contempt Defense #3: Is the court order ambiguous or vague?
If the specific language in the court order at issue is ambiguous or vague (and thus could be interpreted in different ways), this could be a way to beat the motion for contempt.
Contempt Defense #4: Unclean hands doctrine
The unclean hands doctrine is basically an argument that if the petitioner acted in bad faith or committed a wrongdoing that is directly related to the alleged contempt, the petitioner cannot prevail on that allegation of contempt.
For example, let’s say the wife was ordered by the court to obtain certain medical evaluations and treatment for the minor children. If the husband’s refusal to pay court-ordered child support and court-ordered reimbursement of the children’s uncovered medical expenses and the husband’s confrontational behavior towards the children’s doctor directly contributed the wife’s failure to obtain the specific medical evaluations and treatment for the minor children, the court may refuse to find the wife in contempt of court.