The most cited civil contempt of court violations are failure to pay child support, failure to follow a restraining order, denial of child visitation and skipping jury duty, according to Ken LaMance for LegalMatch. Child support is the most common source of contempt of court cases, reports Denver family law attorney Plog & Stein.
Criminal contempt of court occurs when a person disrupts a court proceeding, notes Ohio law firm Roberts Kelly & Bucio. This type of contempt is far less common than civil contempt. Civil contempt is not a criminal violation and does not create a criminal record. It is a proceeding for the court to ensure orders are followed.
Civil contempt cases are often brought in family law proceedings by a plaintiff asking for judgment against the defendant for violating a court order, reports LaMance. Attorney fees can be awarded to a successful plaintiff. Potential punishments for contempt of court are imprisonment or fines.
Proving a contempt of court accusation requires the plaintiff to present evidence of a valid court order the defendant knows about and has the ability to follow, states Plog & Stein. A violation of a court order is not enough to prove contempt of court. The court also considers the facts related to the violation.