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Author Topic: Contempt of Court  (Read 1687 times)

rltfox

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Contempt of Court
« on: May 25, 2005, 02:59:35 PM »
Parenting plan & both parties reside in Washington state.  SS is 10.

CP has said she is not going to show up for our visitation this weekend because she has plans. She is not providing make-up time.  It looks like we will be going to court for contempt.  CP said last night she didn't care, her attorney told her to do whatever she wanted to get us to take her to court. She said she will then ask for more child support.

Doesn't seem right.  If she wanted child support recalculated she could easily request that through DSHS & it wouldn't cost her a penny.  I think there is something with the fact of us taking her to court vs. her taking us to court.  Maybe so she can ask for court costs?

CP is obviously hoping that NCP is making more money, than the last time it was evaluated (4 years ago).  But he is not, in fact he was downsized & out of work for over a year.  He was forced to take a lower paying job in March.  Because he continued to pay full support & didn't ask for a reduction CP doesn't know about any of it.  

To cover our bases & avoid a he said-she said case of contempt, we sent her the Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation (certified & regular mail with a copy to her attorney) letter from this site.  We will show up at the pickup location, get date/time stamped receipt & wait the 45 minutes per our parenting plan before returning home.

Question #1 Will the judge be open to discussing all outstanding issues we have or would s/he only hear the contempt items?

Question #2 What do you make of the child support/court issue?  Any ideas of why they would be trying to get us to take her to court?

Question #3 Do we need to do anything else to document the contempt?

Thanks again!


socrateaser

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2005, 03:12:40 PM »
>Question #1 Will the judge be open to discussing all
>outstanding issues we have or would s/he only hear the
>contempt items?

Contempt only. If you or the other parent have custody or support issues, then you need to file a motion to address each separately.

>
>Question #2 What do you make of the child support/court issue?
> Any ideas of why they would be trying to get us to take her
>to court?

She evidently thinks she has the ace in the hole, because you earn more than you did, and therefore that this will stop you from taking her to court on contempt.

>
>Question #3 Do we need to do anything else to document the
>contempt?

You need clear and convincing evidence that the other parent knowingly and with coscious disregard of the court's orders, violated those orders. The best evidence is a disinterested third party witness who will testify on your behalf. Video would be good.

rltfox

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2005, 03:25:56 PM »
>>Question #3 Do we need to do anything else to document the
>>contempt?
>
>You need clear and convincing evidence that the other parent
>knowingly and with coscious disregard of the court's orders,
>violated those orders. The best evidence is a disinterested
>third party witness who will testify on your behalf. Video
>would be good.

When she initially requested to switch weekends I sent her 2 separate letters (certified & regular mail, cc: her attorney) with an agreement for make-up visitation. She left a message on my answering machine acknowledging she received the second letter. After she refused to agree to make-up, I sent her the Intent to Exercise Visitation letter yesterday & followed up with an e-mail to her attorney.

We live 2-1/2 hours apart & meet in a small city in between.

Question 4: Is there a way that I am not thinking of to get a disinterested 3rd party involved?

Question 5: What exactly can I videotape in our situation?

Question 6: If I am not able to get 3rd party or video, do I have enough?

Thanks again!

socrateaser

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2005, 03:38:04 PM »
>Question 4: Is there a way that I am not thinking of to get a
>disinterested 3rd party involved?

You could ask someone at the pick up point to agree to testify that you arrived at time X, that no one else appeared, and that you left at time Y. If the pick up point is not within your county, then you would likely have to depose the witness in their county of residence or employment.
>
>Question 5: What exactly can I videotape in our situation?

Anything/anyone visible to the naked eye from a public place.

>Question 6: If I am not able to get 3rd party or video, do I
>have enough?

If you don't have a witness, the you have only your word against the other parent. And, I seriously doubt that the other parent will agree with your interpretation of the facts. This is not clear and convincing evidence, and it is why so many people who attempt to prove contempt of custody orders, lose their motion. You need an objective witness, or you will most likely lose, unless the other parent just decides to shoot him/herself in the foot and admit your facts as correct.

rltfox

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2005, 03:47:11 PM »
>>Question 4: Is there a way that I am not thinking of to get
>a
>>disinterested 3rd party involved?
>
>You could ask someone at the pick up point to agree to testify
>that you arrived at time X, that no one else appeared, and
>that you left at time Y. If the pick up point is not within
>your county, then you would likely have to depose the witness
>in their county of residence or employment.
>>
>>Question 5: What exactly can I videotape in our situation?
>
>Anything/anyone visible to the naked eye from a public place.
>
>
>>Question 6: If I am not able to get 3rd party or video, do I
>>have enough?
>
>If you don't have a witness, the you have only your word
>against the other parent. And, I seriously doubt that the
>other parent will agree with your interpretation of the facts.
>This is not clear and convincing evidence, and it is why so
>many people who attempt to prove contempt of custody orders,
>lose their motion. You need an objective witness, or you will
>most likely lose, unless the other parent just decides to
>shoot him/herself in the foot and admit your facts as
>correct.

OK, that makes a lot more sense now.  We meet at a gas station, so maybe I will just ask one of the clerks there.  Plus there is a fast food place next door with a digital readerboard that displays the time.  I can include that in the shot.  One last question:  Does it have to be video or would pictures suffice?


socrateaser

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2005, 05:04:22 PM »
>OK, that makes a lot more sense now.  We meet at a gas
>station, so maybe I will just ask one of the clerks there.
>Plus there is a fast food place next door with a digital
>readerboard that displays the time.  I can include that in the
>shot.  One last question:  Does it have to be video or would
>pictures suffice?

Pictures are fine. Nothing but a witness is fine. But, a disinterested witness is the best proof, because you can take pictures/video/audio and avoid showing that the other parent was actually present.

Also, if you can get the other parent to admit in a recording or writing to not having shown up with the child AFTER the transfer was to occur, then you don't need any witness, because the parent will have witnessed to the contempt themselves.

rltfox

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2005, 02:07:48 PM »
>Also, if you can get the other parent to admit in a recording
>or writing to not having shown up with the child AFTER the
>transfer was to occur, then you don't need any witness,
>because the parent will have witnessed to the contempt
>themselves.

The following weekend June 3-5 would be CP regular weekend.  Last summer she didn't show up for our weekend (without prior agreement).  To save her own behind she came the next weekend without telling us.  She actually drove SS 2-1/2 hours round-trip to the meeting spot.  SS was hurt that "dad didn't pick him up".  We talked to him, without placing blame, and he understands that we have NEVER not picked him up.  We wouldn't knowingly do so & were devistated she put him through that.

Question 7: Would her insistance that we take him on "her" weekend (June 3-5) be an acknowledgement that she did not show up on "my" weekend (May 27-30)?

Question 8: If she pulls the same stunt & we take SS June 3-5 (so SS doesn't go through that again) does that negate the contempt charge?

Thank you!

socrateaser

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RE: Contempt of Court
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2005, 03:06:23 PM »
>Question 7: Would her insistance that we take him on "her"
>weekend (June 3-5) be an acknowledgement that she did not show
>up on "my" weekend (May 27-30)?

Only if that request comes after she misses your weekend, and you will still need some objective evidence, such as a recording or writing wherein she admits that she didn't show up, AND that her failure to show up was willful, not that she had car trouble or some other emergency.

>
>Question 8: If she pulls the same stunt & we take SS June 3-5
>(so SS doesn't go through that again) does that negate the
>contempt charge?
>

Just because she drives on a different weekend, doesn't relieve her of contempt. She knows what the orders say and when she's supposed to be there. But, it's still your burden to prove clearly and convincingly, what actually occured.

 

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