What are the options for pursuing contempt of court litigation?

Attorney Jason HopperQuestion:

My husband’s ex-wife listed him as a responsible party on a medical bill for his child that he never consented to nor has ever received a bill for. The ex then filed for bankruptcy listing him as a responsible party on the medical bills.

We are going to pursue contempt of court charges but since this has potentially affected his credit, isn’t this a form of identity theft also? Is there anything else that can be done to prevent his ex wife from ruining his credit?


I will preface my answer with the fact that I am not admitted to practice law in the State of Nebraska, and that I practice law only in the State of Indiana. Therefore, I am answering your question with an understanding of Indiana law. Cordell & Cordell does have attorneys in the State of Nebraska and I would encourage you to contact them for further assistance.

You have asked what your options are in pursuing contempt litigation against your husband’s former spouse. If you show that the former spouse willfully violated the orders of the court, sanctions could include attorney’s and litigation fees, or possibly incarceration. If your husband’s former spouse fraudulently signed his name on these documents, you may want to contact your local law enforcement to see if criminal charges could be pursued.

In addition to contempt or “rule to show cause” options that you have against the former spouse for violating certain orders of the court, you may also have options within the bankruptcy proceedings in opening a so called “adversary proceeding” in efforts to set aside the discharge of debt that the former spouse received in her bankruptcy proceedings. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy code, certain domestic support obligations can be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

I would encourage you to seek out a domestic litigation and/or bankruptcy attorney for further analysis of your options.


Jason P. Hopper is an Associate Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana, office of Cordell & Cordell where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Hopper is licensed in the state of Indiana – All State and Appellate courts, US District Court Northern District Indiana, US District Court Southern District Indiana, US Bankruptcy Court Southern District Indiana.

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