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Alabama Divorce: Contempt Cases

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In the state of Alabama, anyone who fails to comply with the terms of a divorce decree can be charged with contempt of court. The most common violation of a divorce decree is the failure to pay child support. Other violations can include the failure to pay spousal support or the failure to honor a court-mandated visitation schedule.

If your former spouse is not complying with the terms of your divorce or has petitioned the court to charge you with contempt, Shaw Family Law is available for consultation. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys have decades of family law experience.

What Happens to Those Found Guilty of Contempt?

Once an Alabama family law court has charged someone with contempt, that person will be notified of the charges and requested to appear at a court hearing. If they fail to appear, the court can issue a warrant for their arrest. Should they be found guilty of noncompliance, they can be punished with fines and imprisonment—though the court's first objective is to force them into complying with the terms of the initial divorce decree. In some instances, the court will also require the guilty party to cover the legal costs borne by their former spouse.

To be found guilty, it must be proved that the accused:

  • Knew the terms of the divorce decree
  • Willfully violated the terms of the divorce decree
  • Had no legal rationale for violating the terms of the divorce decree

A Petition for Rule Nisi

Alabama has a unique name for the filing of contempt charges related to divorce. It's called a Petition for Rule Nisi. Because it is a separate action from the original divorce, it requires the payment of a filing fee. To learn more contempt cases in Alabama, talk to an AV® Rated Birmingham divorce lawyer at Shaw Family Lawyers.

Contact us online today or call (205) 259-7650.

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