Honor a Visitation Agreement
Video Transcribed: I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney, and today I want to talk to you about 10 things that will probably get you a citation for contempt of court. Just to start out with, I’m not going to talk about child support here. I talk about that all the time. That’s actually not going to be part of this discussion because I think everybody knows if you’re ordered to pay child support, you need to pay. So that’s not what I’m going to talk about.
I’m going to talk about some other things other than child support that could potentially get you cited. They may or may not be things you thought of.
Now the first thing I’m going to talk about is failure to honor a visitation agreement. Now, this is one I talk about a lot in the context of women, but guys, if your custodial, the same thing applies to you. If she court-ordered visitation and you don’t honor it, you could be looking at a citation for contempt.
Now there may be circumstances where you would refuse to honor it for a legitimate reason where either it may not lead to contempt or if it leads to a contempt citation you would have a defense. But if you’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to withhold, number one, there better be a good reason for it, and number two, you really need to get out ahead of that and file a notice of suspension and notify the court of the fact that you’re going to withhold and why rather than allowing her to bring it up on contempt or a motion to enforce. So that’s the first one. That can and does get people cited for contempt.
The second one that will most likely get you cited for contempt is going to be if you disparage the children’s mother to the children. I just did a video talking about defending against this as a dad, but here’s the other thing, if you do it, it is contempt of court.
Even without joint or parental conduct, it is contempt of court. There’s the good argument it violates the automatic temporary injunction that comes into play anytime you are looking at a divorced or fraternity proceeding, and it will get you cited and judges just don’t like it. Even if it’s not contempt, if you want to piss a judge off, that’s a good way to do it. So that’s another one that can get you cited for contempt.
Withholding property. Talk a lot about custody issues as they relate to divorce and paternity and how you can get jammed up in contempt for that. You can get jammed up in contempt if you withhold property. If she gets awarded something, either on a temporary basis or as a final decree and you don’t give it to her and you’re knowingly withholding it, that is contempt of court and you can be prosecuted for it. So don’t do it. I don’t care if you disagree with the order.
Once the order is in place, you have to do it. Now you may have an appeal or you may have other remedies available in the long term, but in the short term if you’re court-ordered to do something, do it. It’s not worth it, man. So that’s number three.
Number four, not paying a bill you’re ordered to pay, and I’m not talking about child support here. I’m talking about debts or utility bills or anything like that. If you go through temporary orders or for that matter, if you’re under the ATI, even without temporary orders and there’s a bill that needs to be paid that’s a routine bill of the household and you don’t pay it, you can be held in contempt for that. If you’re ordered to pay a certain debt and you don’t pay it, you can be held in contempt for that.
Something to be aware of, I’ll tell you a little story and there’s a moral to this story. I once jammed a guy up on contempt for not paying a car note. Exhibit one was something that his girlfriend actually posted online about what a great guy he was because he bought her a car. And his defense to contempt was that he couldn’t afford the bill. But then he bought his new girlfriend, finance a car. So the moral of it is number one if you owe money like that and you are ordered to pay it, pay it.
If you’re going to say I can’t afford it, it’d better be because you really can’t afford it and the reason for not being able to afford it is related to expenses that you need to live, not some toy you bought for your significant other or some other thing that’s not a necessity. Because the court can and will find you in contempt of court for doing that.
Some other things that can get you held in contempt, if you don’t take your court-ordered classes. Anytime you get divorced with kids or you do paternity, you have to take Helping Children Cope with Divorce, and in Tulsa County, you have to do the PPC classes. That’s the Planned Parenting Conference classes. If you don’t do those in a reasonable, timely manner, you can be found in contempt of court for that, and again, jam you up.
Some other things that can get you held in contempt, if you’re court-ordered to take a drug test or submit to any other kinds of testing and you refuse, again, you can be held in contempt to court. If you don’t like doing it, that might be something to discuss with your lawyer and see what your options are and to try and get out of it. But don’t just refuse to do it.
Some other things as well, you can get held indirect contempt of court if you’re disrespectful. I had a situation recently where somebody narrowly avoided that. Happily, they weren’t my client, but somebody very recently narrowly avoided contempt of court for being disrespectful.
The fact that you don’t like what the judge has to say doesn’t mean you get to argue back. That can be found to be direct contempt of court, and the court will cite you for that if you push it.
Now typically with direct contempt, the court will give you a warning. If you get admonished to stop doing something, don’t do it, because the next time you’re going to get to see the inside of jail cell.
A general good rule when you’re in court, you need to control your emotions even if you don’t like what’s going on. That’s not a place to go have a meltdown because I’m telling you guys, the judges don’t think that’s cool. They’re not going to be okay with it and they’re likely to want to slap your hands for it. The reality is, guys, we’re going to get a lot less leeway than women. So just be aware of that.
Another thing that can potentially get you cited for contempt, if you’re court-ordered to be in court for some reason, and this typically comes into play for things like asset hearings, and this is less to do with domestic law than general law overall. But if you don’t show up for an asset hearing, that’s contempt of court and you can go to jail for it. So again, show up to court.
Not returning the kids on time habitually, again on visitation. If you have visitation from X time till X time and you repeatedly and habitually don’t return the kids on time, again, that’s not following the visitation order. You can be held in content.
If there are any special conditions set on visitation if you violate them that could get you held in contempt. If you think a condition is unfair or unwarranted, you need to take that up with your lawyer. Do not resort to ignoring it just because you don’t like it. That’s going to get you contemplated. If you are looking for a divorce attorney for men or a men’s rights attorney in Tulsa, contact me.