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What does a contempt conviction really mean in family court? Can a judge really convict on one aspect but not the other?

Santa Ana, CA |

Lat week I won a contempt motion against my soon to be x wife, she took our 18 month old son to Mexico thus violating the ATROS and I missed 10 visits with my child. We have monitored pick up and drop off so I paid the monitor to show up everyday she didn't show up to document that I did not receive my visits. He was brought in and testified, to which the x stipulated that yes I did miss my visits. The judge handed a guilty verdict on 10 counts being that she has the full ability to comply with my visits but chose to over look the ATROS thus making it 11 counts or finding her guilty on 2 counts the ATROS and missed visits. What just happened it doesn't make any sense. This judge was pro woman all the way is this worse than the 2 counts How does contempt affect a custody battle? CONFUSED!

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

11 Counts of Contempt will not really make a stronger point than a single count if she learns that the Court is serious. If she does it again after being held in Contempt once, the Judge will probably use a bigger stick.

I represent Employers, but I can recommend Worker Attorneys in So Cal if you ask.

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Posted

Did he throw her in jail? That is the big threat. You need to hire an attorney
I handle family law matters:, child custody, property dispute in Los Angeles or Orange County, California. Always consult attorneys in your state!! Use Avvo’s tab “find a Lawyer” above.

In all legal matters, the court generally uses the reasoning of IRAC. I for issues, what are the facts and what remedies do you seek. R stands for rules and reasoning, what are the laws and what makes common sense. A is analysis how do the laws and common sense apply, C is conclusion, what are the arguments pro and con..

I do limited scope agreements, where I only prepare the papers for court and try to prepare you for testify; I always recommend using an attorney when you can afford one as that usually increases your chances of winning.
Do you want your current or ex-spouse to know or hire me first?

In child custody, the simplest explanation is “what is in the best interests of the child (ren). In support proof of earnings, needs of the children and percentage of time spent with the child(ren).

In Community versus Separate Property, considerations include tracing the funds, and how profits are made.

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My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. These answers do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend I believe in telling the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ.. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are preparation of court documents it is , less expensive. However generally I believe an attorney is better than none.

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Asker

Posted

if my x were to hire you I would feel bad for you, you would be her 4th attorney and she is a problem client because she does not listen

Stephen Ross Cohen

Stephen Ross Cohen

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I never take a client who has had three attorneys before me, I learned my lesson years ago

Posted

Without seeing the order and reviewing the proof, it isn't possible to really explain much. For whatever reason, the court determined you did not provide sufficient evidence of contempt as to certain counts.

the fact that you won ten counts strongly suggests to me that this judge is not "pro woman." Contempt is not a "gimme" issue in any case.

Obviously, contempt convictions are not going to help your wife's case. It is unlikely to be a significant factor in the long run, however. The overriding question is the best interest of the children, and changing visitation rights as a punishment for contempt is simply not possible.

I suggest that you meet with a family law lawyer as to your proof on the other contempt matters. My experience suggests that pro pers underestimate what it takes to prove their case. An experienced trial lawyer may be able to help you understand what went wrong.

Note also that a victory on the 10 counts constitutes a "win." It is extremely rare that one side gets 100% of what they ask for. Bitterness over the counts you loss suggests to me a lack of objectivity here that is common when one represents oneself (lawyers suffer from it as well when they act on their own behalf -- this comment is a general observation on human nature, and not non-lawyers).

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Asker

Posted

I am the one who brought the contempt case forward with my attorney, the judge said 9 times the child will not leave the country because of the ATROS and she did leave. When I was on the stand against her he only let me read 6 of the 9 and nothing after from the transcripts, the judge did admit the ATROS were violated instead of 2 counts he held her on 10. I do have an attorney but he is not too familiar with contempt. She is not allowing me to see our little one and were using this as proof, she does not want to mediate. Will this affect custody is she does not want to mediate custody after 2 years of this mess?

Charles Richard Perry

Charles Richard Perry

Posted

If your wife is not allowing you to see your child in violation of the established visitation orders, you need to enforce your rights. The lack of desire to mediate does not affect things by itself in the long run -- but judges tend to note long-term patterns of misbehavior, and those inevitably get factored in somehow. I do not want to second-guess your existing counsel, who is much closer to the case than me, and I would defer to him/her on all matters. I would have a heart-to-heart talk with him/her, to focus on the goal here. The judge may have cut you off, possibly because he was already convinced, had too many matters to hear, and your evidence was duplicative. There is a huge premium in court on efficiency. For instance, a chart summarizing the nine violations might have been more effective and efficient than you testifying as to them all. Best of luck to you.

Asker

Posted

Hence my contempt motion, thanks for your time!

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