Valadez v. Aprahamian, Nos. 2021AP1436, 2021AP994 and 2021AP1186: One contempt finding reversed where the trial court did not comply with the statutory requirements for nonsummary contempt. However, another summary contempt for interrupting the court affirmed as it occurred in the actual presence of the court, the contempt was for the purpose of preserving order, the…
(1) No contempt where person is unable to pay. (2) Burden of proof is on defendant to show his conduct was not contemptuous.
To prove contempt, wilful design to avoid payments must be shown – arrearages alone are not sufficient.
Court has broad powers, independent of contempt proceedings to enforce its judgment. The trial court can apply any remedy customarily available to courts of equity and appropriate to a particular case.
(1) Divorce court can use contempt powers to enforce judgment. (2) Rights between parties are enforced by civil contempt. (3) Contemnor entitled to hearing with findings of fact of what he failed to do, that he had the ability to do it and what he must do to purge.
Criminal, rather than civil rules, apply to appeal for prosecution by FCC for non-payment of child support.
Courts have inherent power to hold in contempt those who disobey court orders – disobedience of a lawful court order constitutes contempt of court – in this case, for moving child without informing mother of child’s whereabouts.
Remedial contempt can be imposed where defendant received notice of hearing, but did not appear at hearing.
Punitive sanctions may not be applied in remedial contempt actions. Contemnor must have some ability to purge contempt. Order that defendant obtain and hold job is erroneous, since hiring defendant requires act of another, and therefore is not in defendant’s control.
Contemnor entitled to hearing to seek to modify purge orders or to explain why he has not purged.