When one party in a custody or divorce case violates a court order, the other party has the opportunity to petition the court for enforcement of the order. In Virginia, this is called a Petition for a Rule to Show Cause. At the Show Cause hearing, the judge will give you an opportunity to defend your actions and present evidence as to why you violated the court order. If the court does not accept your explanation, the court may hold you in contempt and may issue a punishment that will vary depending on the type and severity of the violation.
Punishments may be civil or criminal, and will vary depending on whether the punishment is intended to be punitive or intended to simply force a party’s compliance with the original court order. Examples of punishments include the imposition of fines, payment of attorney fees, suspension of a party’s driver’s license, jail time, and jail time with a “purge bond” whereby the party must pay a certain amount of money in order to be released from jail.
If your circumstances suggest that you may soon violate your custody, visitation or support court order, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to avoid a Show Cause hearing by working out an agreement with the other party and/or filing to amend certain provisions of your current court order. The family law and divorce attorneys at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have years of experience representing clients in Show Cause hearings and related matters. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.