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Will contempt charge stick?

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Illinois Dad

What is the name of your state? Illinois

Ok, I have casually asked about this before, but now it has come to fruition so I really would like to know. Here are the gory details...

July 9 I was awarded temp custody of my two kids. At the same time I was awarded support and a statement was put in the court order that she would be responsible for paying 40% of after school care costs. July 31 I sent her an e-mail detailing the amounts of after school care. She responded that I needed to find something cheaper and that since I work from home after school care shouldn't be needed at all. This combined with her other behaviors have made it obvious that she will do nothing without very specific court orders so my attorney filed a petition for a hearing to set specific dollar amounts and due dates each month for these expenses. That hearing will be 9/17. In the meantime we were in court for another matter and my atty told her atty that she needed to be paying something even if she disputed the amount I was asking for. Her atty told mine that she would be paying the amount I requestd. She has employed a couple of other stalling tactics in the interim. I told my atty last week that I still hadn't received any money from her (I should have gotten $208 by 8/13 and $172 is then due the 13th of every month) so he filed a petition for a contempt charge which will also be heard on the 17th. She was unaware that this charge had been filed, and yesterday she gave me a check for $172 (still $36 short of what she should have paid). She claims that I haven't explained to her why the first month is $36 more than the subsequent months, but it was all documented in the information I gave her including copies of the receipts showing how much I paid. I don't think it is my responsibility to do the basic math (520 x 40% = $208) for her.

After all that rambling here is the question...even though she has paid me this money, can I still make a contempt charge stick? I could give a hoot about the $36 but now I am into this for about three hours of atty time at $225 per hour.

propably not

Since she made an effort before receiving the show cause for contempt. Has she paid you the child support for the month?

My guess is this contempt wont stick.

Congrats on getting custody Illinois Dad. Have a good day with your kids today.

Rad :)

Illinois Dad

Thanks for your thoughts, Rad. The support is withdrawn weekly from her pay check so that comes to me through CSE.

I know that she has made an attempt to pay on this, and I can only hope the judge sees it for what it really is. She is sitting with over $3,000 in her checking account. She owes me $727 in back support which the court gave her until 10/9 to pay, she owes me about $1,500 in medical expenses, and now she is playing games with this after school care money. She has told me she knows she will have to pay, but if I have to pay all of it right back out to the attorney then I don't stand to benefit from it.

Nothing more than continuing to try to control me by controlling the purse strings.
Proof judges aren't blind...

We often worry about what the judge will do or say, based on the evidence presented in court. So often, it seems that the body of evidence, the part that shows the intent of the other party, doesnt get aired. But judges, particularly divorce judges, aren't blind. They have seen all the games, and all the permutations of these games before. And remember too, that judges were attorneys with clients first, so they also have that reality to draw upon.

While it is true that judges must act within the confines of the law, you have to remember that there is a lot of latitude within those confines. Which is the reason it is so very difficult to predict what any given judge will do on any given ruling.

I just recently won a contempt hearing that even my attorney didnt think we would win. And for the same sort of reasons as in your case. He had partially complied with the court order, but not within the time frame the order had established, and there were parts of the order that he was not in compliance with at all.

The part he complied with was arguably the biggest and most important part, but the way that compliance happened, coupled with the rest of the order still being ignored was what won the day. Honestly, it could have gone the other way just as easily, but for the fact that the judge was irritated at having his order ignored and his time wasted. You don't get to pick and choose which parts of a court order to follow and which to choose not to follow. Hopefully, this argument will also win the day for you.

It sounds as if your soon to be ex either has an idiot for an attorney (like mine does!) or she is not listening to him. Either way, it sounds like good news for you. I wish you the best of luck, because I do admit there is an element of a wild card in these kinds of things (the judges tolerance and mood). And I also understand that getting that contempt charge to stick is all important because in Illinois, with a contempt charge comes the mandatory payment, by her, of YOUR associated legal fees. But, even without a contempt charge at this point, it sounds like she is establishing a pattern, and that pattern alone may be enough to get it ordered that she pays for a portion of those fees. It is not iron-clad, but it is a strong argument. Let us know how it turns out!

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