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Was servered papers for contempt of court and parenting plan modification but didn't respond.

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Was servered papers for contempt of court and parenting plan modification but didn't respond. What will happen when I show up to court?

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Attorney answers 3


If you had a good reason for not responding on time, like late/improper service or a medical emergency, ask the other party's attorney for a continuance so you can respond properly. If you simply didn't do it, you can still ask them, and if they don't agree ask the commissioner at the hearing, but be prepared for the answer to be no and to have to go forward. Here's an informational packet about responding to a contempt motion, which is intended for full response but has information about preparing for the hearing which may be useful:

That site also has packets on responding to petitions for parenting plan modifications, but the correct one depends on whether this is a parentage case or a dissolution case.

Avvo answers are attorney opinions offered for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Use of the Avvo Q&A forum does not create any attorney-client relationship.



I didnt have a good reason. Will this strengthen the other parents case because I didnt respond?

Kate M Forrest

Kate M Forrest


It's hard to say without knowing any of the facts or seeing the pleadings, but it certainly doesn't help. If you go and bring compelling evidence why you shouldn't be held in contempt (e.g. inability to comply despite willingness) you might prevail, but the court won't be pleased/impressed with you so there's no guarantee they'll accept your evidence. If the hearings are consolidated, the parenting plan will be approached differently because it is about the kids not you--they won't punish the kids for you not filing the right paperwork. That said, repeated findings of contempt are a legitimate basis for requesting a parenting plan modification, so it really depends on the facts. Talk with an attorney if at all possible, and try for the continuance anyway--hearings always go better if you have a chance to come in on equal footing, the commissioner having heard both sides of the story.


You should consult with a local family law atty. Contempt is quasi criminal with penalties. At least get some advice from someone who practices before the court where this case is, even if you cant hire them to fully represent you.


The rules require a response under oath and in writing. No testimony is normally allowed. Nevertheless, make sure you show up and either try to make an argument in support of your position, or ask for a continuance to allow you to respond. You'd better have a good excuse. See my AVVO Legal Guides on motions for contempt for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. To find my Legal Guides, go the AVVO website at; click on “Find a Lawyer”; get to my AVVO home page by clicking on my name or photo; when you get to my AVVO home page scroll down to "Contributions" and then click "Legal Guides." You will get a list of the 29 Legal Guides I have published on AVVO. Scroll down this list and select the topics that are relevant to your question. You may also want to schedule a free ½ hour consultation with me by calling my office at 253-815-8440.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes

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