A Family Law contempt action can be Civil or Criminal. In a civil contempt the goal is to have corrective measures take place, whereas in a criminal contempt matter the Citee maybe sentenced to five (5) days in jail for each count. The jail sentence is imposed for the willful disobedience of a valid court order, the Citee must have knowledge of the valid court order. If a Contempt action has been filed against you call the a family law attorney.
For example in an Orange County Child Support Contempt action, your ability to pay Child Support was determined when the original child support order was made. Thus, your inability to pay your child support is an affirmative defense that must be proved by the Citee.
A Family Law Contempt action is begun by filing the charging document form FL-410, Order To Show Cause, on the seventh floor Family Law Clerks Office. Facts that constitute the contempt are alleged in the affidavit of facts indicating the kind of order that was violated, the date the order was entered and how the violation occurred. [California Code of Civil Procedure § 1211(a)]
A family law contempt action must be personally served on the Citee at least 21 days before the hearing. You or you attorney must appear at the arraignment hearing. If you do not appear in person or by counsel, a bench warrant can be issued. At the Arraignment you will enter a plea of guilt or not guilty and a pre trial date will be set.
At the pre trial a plea may be offered by County Counsel and if a plea is taken, your sentenced will be suspended and you will be placed an three (3) years probation. If you do not accept the plea your case will be set for a hearing. If you do not comply with the terms of your Plea the Department of Child Support Services can file a Petition to Revoke your Probation and the court can impose all or a portion of the suspended sentence.