This is the next post in my series on the consequences of a parent not following court orders in Las Vegas, Nevada child custody cases. My last article discussed the potential jail time and fines for violating a court order. It is important to understand that failing to follow the order is not a “private matter” between two parties. It is, in fact, an individual failing to follow a mandate which has been placed upon them by a Judge. This article will be expanding upon that discussion by going over the process involved in asking the Court to hold someone in contempt. Clark County Family Court judges take such matters very seriously and it is important that you retain an attorney to assist you. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Holding a Las Vegas parent in contempt of court begins by filing a Motion for An Order To Show Cause
The first step in holding a parent in contempt of court in a Las Vegas family case is to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause. This is a formal document in which the requesting party is asking that the other party be required to appear in Court and explain why they should not be held in contempt for their actions. Such a request must state which specific sections of the order were violated by the offending party, and specifics of the violation(s) must also be provided. The Court will hold a hearing on the Motion and, if the Judge finds that there is reason to move forward, the “show cause” hearing will be scheduled. Whether the Judge will choose to move forward with a show cause hearing will depend on the specifics of the case.
The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose Jack and Jill have an existing child custody order which states that Jack has weekend visitation. He is to pick up the child from school each Friday and is to drop the child off at Jill’s home on Sunday night by 5pm. Now suppose that Jack has regularly not returned the child home on Sunday night. Over Jill’s objections, which are documented by text messages and emails, he keeps the child overnight until school starts the next morning. Jack’s sole excuse for this is that he thinks it is inconvenient to return the child on Sunday. Jill files a Motion with the Court. Under these circumstances, the Court would likely schedule a hearing at which Jack will have to argue why he should not be found in contempt of the custody order. Now suppose that this conduct had been a one-time affair and Jill files a Motion. Under this scenario, the Court may admonish Jack but would be unlikely to schedule a contempt hearing.
A parent will be able to present evidence on their behalf at a “show cause” hearing
If the Court orders a show cause hearing then the parent being accused of contempt will be able to present evidence on their behalf at the hearing. It must be understood that the purpose of holding someone in contempt is to ensure that they comply with Court orders going forward. If a parent is able to present evidence showing that their violations were not in bad faith and/or that they will comply with Court orders going forward, then the Court may decline to hold them in contempt. If, on the other hand, there is clear evidence that an individual will continue to violate orders going forward, then the Court is more likely to make a finding of contempt. Again, how the Court will rule in a situation will always depend on the facts of the case.
If you or a family member are having issues with a parent who is violating an order then contact my office to speak with a Las Vegas child custody lawyer. I understand that this is an important time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.