I am a custodial parent. My ex has filed 2 false contempt charges against me pertaining to visitation. (I live in CO, he is in IA & the original decree is from Iowa.) I was found innocent of the 1st contempt charge but now he's filed another. I am certain I will be found innocent of this one as well. In both cases I have significant proof of my innocence. There is also a long history of harassment, resulting in 2 restraining orders filed against him and an arrest. I believe, now that he can no longer harass me outright, he's using the court system as a means to harass me by filing these false charges. Assuming I win the current contempt charge, what can I do? Can I get the court to order him to stop filing false charges? I cannot afford to keep going to IA for these court proceedings.
If the court finds that he is frivolously, groundlessly, and vexatiously filing motions for contempt, the Court can order him to pay you attorney fees, court costs, and reimburse other expenses. The Court can scold him for filing such frivolous motions. It is rather unprecedented, although the Supreme Court in CO has done so once, to order that a person can not file pleadings pro se in a case (in that case they ordered that any pleadings had to be filed by an attorney based on abuse of the court system). However, you can express to the Iowa court your frustrations and see what an Iowa attorney would suggest. Just because a person can not prove a contempt citation, does not necessarily mean that it never had any merit to it whatsoever. It may be that he just does not have sufficient proof to meet his burden. Judges do not like finding people in contempt of court.
No court will bar a parent from filing motions with the Court. To do so would remove any ability to file justified motions that might be necessary to protect the child.
However, if the judge is convinced that the motions are baseless, the judge does have the power to sanction the person filing frivolous motions. Such sanctions often involve an order to pay the legal fees or expenes of the other party, but can also include fines and other sanctions.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or [email protected] Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
The Court generally cannot order a party to not file anything in the future as the Court cannot predict whether or not they will have a legitimate cause of action. However, in Colorado there is a specific statute that provides for relief if a party has filed substantially frivolous motions in a malicious attempt at harassment. Under this statute the Court can make a party pay the other person's legal fees. There may be a provision for similar relief in your state as well. Consult an attorney-- maybe if she had to pay your legal fees or other sanctions it would deter her from filing without substantial cause.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline