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Contempt of Court in Ohio

There are various reasons a party can be found to be in contempt of Court in Ohio such as failing to pay child support, failing to appear after being subpoenaed, and failing to allow visitation as ordered by the Court, just to name a few. Chapter 2705 of the Ohio Revised Code discusses contempt actions and penalties.

Child Support Contempt

When a parent is ordered by the Court to pay child support and fails to do so, the Child Support Enforcement Agency is likely to pursue a contempt charge. A summons will be issued to the parent that is alleged to be in contempt requiring the parent to appear before the Court. A hearing will be held where each party is able to present evidence and testimony and the Judge will make a final ruling on the issue of contempt.

In order to avoid contempt for nonpayment of support, it is important to maintain contact with the Child Support Enforcement Agency if there are any changes in your employment, address, or other information. If you are unemployed, notify the Agency immediately and complete the seek works forms as the Agency requires. Being temporarily unemployed does not automatically mean a contempt charge as long as you are complying with all of the Agency’s requests and submitting all information and forms as required.

Criminal Direct and Indirect Contempt of Court

Indirect contempt of Court happens outside the presence of the Court and direct contempt happens in the Court’s presence. A person can be charged with indirect contempt of Court for failing to appear after being summoned or subpoenaed into Court. A judge can hold a witness in direct contempt of Court when the witness refuses to testify during a Court proceeding without a valid right or privilege. Other forms of direct contempt can occur when parties or viewers act inappropriately during a Court proceeding.

Civil Contempt Related to Custody or Divorce

There are often times where one parent does not follow a Court ordered visitation schedule or only follows the schedule when convenient for them. In instances like this, the parent can be found in contempt of Court for failing to allow the ordered visitation to take place. In these types of contempt proceedings, the parent in contempt may be permitted to purge themselves of the contempt charge by following the order.

Penalties for Contempt

The following includes the penalties for a contempt charge in Ohio:

  1. For a first offense, a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, a definite term of imprisonment of not more than thirty days in jail, or both;
  2. For a second offense, a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, a definite term of imprisonment of not more than sixty days in jail, or both;
  3. For a third or subsequent offense, a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, a definite term of imprisonment of not more than ninety days in jail, or both.

 

If you are charged with contempt for any reason, contact a licensed Ohio attorney immediately to work toward the best possible outcome of your case.