Contempt of Court

Often, the conflict that led to a divorce continues even after the final divorce decree is signed.  It can be emotionally exhausting when your fights with your ex-spouse continue even though you have a formal and finalized divorce decree.  It is important to know that your divorce decree — and all related orders regarding child support, child custody, visitation and alimony — are formal legal judgments that can be enforced if either spouse does not follow the order.

It is also important to know that the penalties for failing to comply with the provisions of a divorce decree or related family law order can be extremely serious and one can be held in contempt of court. For example, in Tennessee you can lose your driver’s license if you fail to pay child support.

Actions for Contempt of Court

If an ex-spouse refuses to comply with the terms of a divorce decree or related family law order, then you have the option of filing a legal proceeding called an “action for contempt of court.”

If you win the contempt of court action, your ex-spouse will be ordered to comply with the original order and may be required to pay your court costs and attorney fees. In cases involving failure to pay child support, parents owed support generally asks for the following relief:

  • Reduce the arrearage (amount owed) to judgment.
  • Determine the arrearage payment amount monthly.
  • Reimburse the parent owed support for filing fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees for having to bring the petition to enforce child support.
  • Award 12% simple interest on unpaid child support.
  • Find the delinquent parent in civil or criminal contempt.
  • Order the parent to jail for a period of time or until a certain amount is paid (purge payment).
  • Revoke certain licenses issued by the State of Tennessee including hunting and driving licenses.

If your ex-spouse is not living up to the court ordered agreement in your final decree of divorce, don’t let this affect your quality of life nor impede on providing necessities for your children if you have custody and he or she is behind in child support. Amanda Thornton will fight to get you the back child support you are owed filing an action for contempt of court and getting restitution for your unique situation.





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