When couples obtain divorces in Pennsylvania, typically these individuals will sign marital settlement agreements, which address property and debt division, and child custody. As written documents in a divorce, these agreements are legally enforceable in court.
If one of the divorcées fails to hold up their end of the marital settlement agreement, they can take their ex-husband or wife to court.
About Contempt of Court
Suppose a judge decides that a father has to pay all of his children’s uninsured medical expenses because that is what it says in the divorce decree. A year goes by, and the father still hasn’t coughed up the money. In this case, the father would be “in contempt of court.”
In Pennsylvania, the applicable law would be Rule 140 B, Contempt Not in the Presence of The Court. Under Rule 140 B, an individual is in contempt when:
- The person failed to obey a subpoena (failed to appear in court) issued by the court;
- The person failed to comply with a court order; or
- The person failed to comply with a court order directing him or her to pay fines and costs associated with an installment order.
If a court finds someone in “contempt” for any of the above, he or she may be fined or imprisoned, or both. A bench warrant will likely be issued if the defendant failed to show after being subpoenaed by the court.
Headed toward divorce? It’s important to take your divorce agreements seriously. You cannot agree to do something and then fail to carry it out. Because, if you fail to adhere to your obligations, the court can find you “in contempt,” and you could end up behind bars.
While going through a divorce, it’s important to have an experienced no-fault Pennsylvania divorce attorney fully advise you of your rights and responsibilities under the law, including your duty to uphold your obligations under a marital settlement agreement.
If you need a divorce lawyer in Pennsylvania, contact Cairns Law Offices to learn about our cheap, no-fault divorce services!