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What is the punishment for contempt of court in north carolina?

Franklin, NC |

My little boy's mother will not let me see him. We have joint custody of him and i'm supposed to have visitation with him every other weekend and 2 weeks in the summer and on holidays on the odd or even years. She will not talk to me or answer my texts unless she is telling me that i have forgotten about him and basically to pay my child support and stay out of his life, which i do not want to do. I haven't seen him in 10 months and we have even been in front of a mediator and in front of her she agreed on everything we discussed, but when it came time to sign the papers, i signed mine and took them to the clerk of courts office but she refuses to sign her copy. I cant really afford to hire an attorney right now and i have run out of ideas...any suggestions? Where do I go from here?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

If there is a court order you can file a claim for contempt and ask the court to punish her for her non-compliance with the order.

Some NC counties have forms available to assist people representing themselves. Contact the clerk's office at the Macon County Courthouse and see if they have any pro se forms that could assit you with a motion and order to show cause.

Scott Allen is a divorce and family law attorney in Raleigh, NC. He can be reached at 919-648-0658, DISCLAIMER: YOU SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY IN YOUR AREA TO ANSWER YOUR SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTIONS. SCOTT ALLEN IS LICENSED ONLY IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY/ CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. RATHER, THE RESPONSE IS IN THE FORM OF LEGAL EDUCATION AND IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE MATTER IN QUESTION. ALTHOUGH A RESPONSE IS PROVIDED TO THE SPECIFIC QUESTION, THERE MAY BE OTHER FACTS AND LAW RELEVANT TO THE ISSUE THAT THE QUESTIONER HAS LEFT OUT AND WHICH WOULD MAKE THE REPLY UNSUITABLE. THEREFORE, THE QUESTIONER SHOULD NOT BASE ANY DECISION ON THE ANSWER, BUT SHOULD CONFER WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON AS SATTED ABOVE REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF HIS OR HER CASE

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Posted

Certainly, filing a contempt of court motion against the mother for non complianceofnthe custody order is a good first step. One should also fIle for and have signed by the court an order to show cause. An order to sHow cause will shift the burden to the mother to explain to the court why she has not let you visit witH your son according to tahe terms of the custody
Order.

Also, under these circumstances one can request for the court to grant "make-up time" with the child and/ or jail time for mom. Depending on the severity of mom's non compliance the court probably won't incarerate her; but if she's found in contempt, the court may levy a jail sentence, say 30 days, suspend the sentence on the condition that she not willfully withhold the child from you in the future.
The bigger picture is that if one is successful in prosecuting contempt motions for willfully withholding visitation, one can use that as grounds to modify custody.

If/when you can, consult an attorney.

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