Georgia Contempt of Court

What is contempt of court? Your Georgia court order usually contains numerous findings as to child support, custody, division of property, restraining orders, etc. However, if the other party does not comply with the order, you can't go to the police. You have to file a rule to show cause complaint in the Georgia family court and ask the judge to find them in contempt of court. Contempt is the willful violation of a court order and the punishments imposed are entirely up to the discretion of the judge.

You Can be Fined Per Day for Contempt of Court

There is likewise no merit to the husband's claim that the ordered payment of $1,500 per day is contrary to OCGA § 15-6-8(5) . Indeed, OCGA § 15-6-8(5) provides that the superior courts have the authority to punish contemptuous behavior by imposing fines not to exceed $500; however, this monetary limitation addresses the circumstance of criminal contempt and is not applicable to sanctions imposed for civil contempt. Minor v. Minor, 257 Ga. 706, 710(3), 362 S.E.2d 208 (1987) ; In re Harvey, 219 Ga.App. 76, 79, 464 S.E.2d 34 (1995) . And this is plainly a situation of civil contempt inasmuch as the sanction employed by the trial court was entirely remedial in nature. Id. at 79, 464 S.E.2d 34. See also, Alexander v. DeKalb County, 264 Ga. 362, 364(1), 444 S.E.2d 743 (1994) ; Ensley v. Ensley, 239 Ga. 860, 238 S.E.2d 920 (1977).

Georgia Contempt of Court Case Law

Inability to pay is a defense

Inability to pay is a defense only where the contemnor demonstrates that he has exhausted all resources and assets available and is still unable to secure the funds necessary to enable compliance with the court's order. He must show " clearly that he has in good faith exhausted all the resources at his command and has made a diligent and bona fide effort to comply with the order of the court," Snider v. Snider, 190 Ga. 381, 386, 9 S.E.2d 654 (1940) (citation and punctuation omitted), and that he cannot borrow sufficient funds to comply with the obligation, see Weiner v. Weiner, 219 Ga. 44, 44, 131 S.E.2d 561 (1963).

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