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Do Judges Really Put People in Jail for Contempt?

People routinely ask whether judges really put people in jail for contempt.  The answer is absolutely yes, Florida family law judges do imprison people every day for contempt, especially regarding child support issues.  Generally, jail is only reserved for people, who have been repeatedly found in contempt.  If someone has repeatedly failed to abide by the Court’s order, the judge very well may put the party in county jail for contempt.  Additionally, judges become very frustrated when the party refuses to make any attempt to comply with the court order. For example, if the order requires the party to pay $1,500.00 a month and the party pays nothing, the court very well may consider jail an appropriate remedy because they failed to even attempt to comply.  If the party were to make some sort of payment, the court may not consider jail for contempt a punishment because it is more difficult to find them in willful violation because they are attempting to comply with the order.

It is important for the party though to consider the impact of putting their ex-spouse in jail for contempt.  For example, if a party continually fails to pay child support, if the party is put in county jail for contempt, they will likely lose their job and have no future means or method to pay for the child support.  Ultimately, if they do not have a job, the Court will not find them in repeated contempt because it will be impossible for them to be found to have willfully failed to pay the monies.    It is important for a family law attorney to discuss the potential sanctions with their client well before the hearing to ensure they have a plan for requesting the sanction from the court.

If you or someone you know has questions concerning a motion for contempt or sanctions concerning a family law case, contact the family law attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultations.  We look forward to assisting you during this difficult, frustrating process.