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Contempt Motion Deadline?

San Jose, CA |

In the past, my ex was late on child support for 5 months, late on reimbursing me. He is current now with the exception of unpaid airfare. However; he fails to call me to let me know that our child arrives a few times (flys as unaccompanied minor) per our court order. He has never consulted me prior to taking our child to doctor's or ER. The only way, I knew is that he used my insurance and I saw it on a bill. Is there a timeframe deadline for these types of issues?

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Attorney answers 5


There is no Statute of Limitations on contempt of court in this context, but it's not the best route to go. You'd have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, there are several court dates involved, and the courts generally don't like contempt motions other than for clear cut cases of contempt.

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If you feel a contempt is the best way to proceed, you need to do this immediately to enforce the court order and protect your child's welfare. I am not saying it would be an easy win, the burden of proof is too high that even seasoned lawyers are unable to prevail on contempt charges. However, if you think his actions are endangering the welfare of the child, you can file an RFO with the court and devise a better order to protect the child and insure your knowledge if not participation in the child's treatment.

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Generaly a contempt order only goes back one year on the facts because it is a quasi criminal matter.

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If he is not letting you know when your child arrives at the airport this is a serious issue and I would file a motion with the court to terminate these long distance exchanges. It seems to leave your child at risk of harm if you don’t know when to pick the child up from the airport.

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I oppose the contempt route. A child who flies unaccompanied can, and should, use a cell phone to call you and the child knows better than Dad when he arrives. ER is an emergency situation that may not allow for pre-visit consultation. You might be pegging an eejit as a criminal and you child can report to you on medical visits IF you two communicate.