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Contempt in Arizona Family Court; What Does it Really Mean?

Posted by attorney Ryan Reppucci

Rule 92, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (“ARFLP") outline civil contempt and sanctions for non-compliance with Court Orders.

Pursuant to ARFLP, the use of civil contempt shall be limited to compelling compliance with a court order or compensating a person for losses sustained as a result of the non-complying parties failure to comply with an Order from the Court. Therefore, one should have the understanding that contempt sanctions in a family court setting in Arizona are not intended to punish an offending party or to vindicate the authority of the court, as these sanctions are criminal by nature.

With this said, in certain actions of contempt may permit the arrest of individual in Arizona even though the issue at hand is domestic. For instance, Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes outlines in detail that arrest and incarceration is an appropriate sanction in specific situations dealing with nonpayment of child support.

If an Order has been previously entered in your domestic relations matter and the same has or continues to be violated by the opposing party, you must commence your contempt action by filing a motion with the Court that recites the essential facts alleged to be contemptuous. For more information on properly preparing a motion for contempt, contact Ryan M. Reppucci, of the Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC today for your free consultation.

After a motion for contempt has been filed, the Court will issue an Order to Appear, mandating the appearance of the alleged offending party at a date and time scheduled by the Court. The motion and Order to Appear must by personally served upon the alleged contemnor.

This article meant to act as a brief overview of the contempt process and procedure for Arizona domestic relations cases. Prior to filing an action for contempt, it is strongly suggested that you meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney.

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