This article is part 1 of a 4 part series on contempt in Ohio Family Law. Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist. She is one of approximately 100 such specialists in Ohio.
While it’s true that life happens when you least expect it, and things arise that prevent the other parent from meeting their obligations, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, sometimes people do not obey court orders simply because the don’t want to. If you experience one or more instances where you are deliberately denied your parenting time, you have the option to file a motion asking the court to hold the other parent in contempt. Some people refer to this as “filing contempt charges”.
To some extent, it may be an accurate description to describe contempt of court as a “charge” because one of the penalties available to the court is to put the other parent in jail for a period of time. If a parent is found to be in contempt of court, the court may also require make-up time, consider modifying parenting orders, fine the party found in contempt, and award attorney fees. In fact, ORC 3109.051(K) , requires that a court who finds a person in contempt of a parenting, companionship or visitation order must:
…in addition to any other penalty or remedy imposed, shall assess all court costs arising out of the contempt proceeding against the person and require the person to pay any reasonable attorney’s fees of any adverse party, as determined by the court, that arose in relation to the act of contempt, and may award reasonable compensatory parenting time or visitation to the person whose right of parenting time or visitation was affected by the failure or interference if such compensatory parenting time or visitation is in the best interest of the child.
Sometimes, when people do not want to comply with a court’s order, they mistakenly believe that if they file a motion to change the order, and their motion is granted, they may later be excused from their non-compliance while their motion is pending. The law is two steps ahead of this behavior. Ohio Revised Code 2705.031 provides that a court:
…shall have jurisdiction to make a finding of contempt for a failure to comply with, or an interference with, a parenting time or visitation order or decree and to impose the penalties set forth in section 2705.05 of the Revised Code in all cases in which the failure or interference is at issue even if the parenting time or visitation order or decree no longer is in effect.
This means that if the parent ultimately wins the motion they filed to change the parenting order, they court may still find them in contempt of court for their violations while their motion was pending.
To discuss your situation with one of our
contempt attorneys, call us now at 614-225-9316.
To read more about contempt, see these articles from our website.
DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!