One night during my scheduled parenting time when I had to work overnight I left the children at home with my girlfriend.
My ex-wife found out and contacted her divorce lawyer saying I was in violation of the first right of refusal clause and should be held in contempt.
Can I be held in contempt for this one instance?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Nebraska and Iowa divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
When a court order exists, the parties must follow the order or risk a possible contempt or Show Cause Action.
A party who has not followed the order and apparently refuses to follow the same will be asked to appear in front of the judge and explain, or “show cause,” why they should not be held in contempt of court for their failure to follow the court order.
In order to be held in contempt in my jurisdiction, it is the burden of the party who has been aggrieved, to show that such failure to follow the order was both “willful” and “contumacious.”
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Should the court find the party who failed to follow the order is in contempt, they will face punishment that can result in taking away parenting time for a specified period of time, fines, a date to come to into compliance, attorney’s fees, and in rare occasions, jail time.
A judge typically has discretion to determine what the best option is when a party is in contempt, and it typically depends on how long the contempt has been going on and how egregious he finds the actual acts. In my jurisdictions, a judge would likely look at one incident and ask that you offer the right of first refusal in the future to the other party.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.