By Andrea Johnson
Attorney, Cordell & Cordell
Typically all orders, including those awarding alimony, child support, property awards, division of debts, and any other award in a divorce proceeding, are enforceable by a contempt action.
If you fail to comply with an order of the court to pay child support, it’s likely the custodial parent of your child(ren) will seek an order of contempt.
A contempt action's real purpose is to ensure compliance with the order of the court. The practical effect, however, could be big trouble for an individual who fails to comply.
Most often, parties seeking a contempt order threaten jail time for the non-paying party. The reality is that jail time could be a remedial measure used by the court, but it is more often a last resort for the judge.
A contempt action is civil in nature and the purpose of the contempt is remedial rather than punitive. This means that the purpose of an order of contempt is not intended to "get you in trouble."