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At J Hardy Family Law, we know that no one wants to go through a divorce. It can be complicated and confusing to navigate and sometimes a divorce decree may be hard to maintain; but once a divorce decree is finalized, it is legally binding and must be upheld. Legal actions can be taken when someone does not adhere to the divorce decree. Courts can punish the violating party, with jail time or other financial sanction.

In family law, one can be charged with contempt of court for not paying child support or not following the divorce order, after the Court gives the violating party due process of law, notice of a hearing, and then hears evidence of the violations. When one is found facing a contempt of court filing, they:

  • May have to go to a hearing

  • May be issued a warrant for arrest

  • May be responsible to pay any court fees, including attorney’s fees of the other party

  • May be punished with financial fines and sanctions

  • May be punished with jail time

The goal of a contempt order is not to punish, but to force compliance with the original court order (the divorce agreement, support, or custody order). At J Hardy Family Law, we help clients on both sides of this equation.

How to Enforce a Violation or Contempt of Court by an Ex-Spouse (or Prior Partner)

To file for a hearing, Jessie Hardy can ask the court to charge your ex-spouse with a contempt petition. This is called Rule Nisi. There are also costs involved when filing:

Filing fees: You may have to pay for a filing fee. You may also have to pay a process server to serve your ex with a notice of petition.


You need a strong and diligent attorney to advocate for your case when you must file for contempt or are faced with defending contempt charges. In addition, you will also have to pay attorney fees. The court could award attorney fees to the person in contempt of court--making them responsible for the attorney fees and not you, but this award comes as a reimbursement after you pay your attorney for her fees. To avoid costly attorney fees, you can request local legal aid and services or represent yourself, but it involves an in-depth knowledge of the laws and procedures for contempt court. Let us help you when filing for Rule Nisi or Contempt of family law issues.

Child Support

If the child support agreement filed through the divorce decree is not upheld, there are state resources to help successfully file a contempt of court claim. As per Alabama law, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) is responsible for helping, supporting, and enforcing child support orders.

At J Hardy Family Law, we help you navigate the confusions and hardships of a petition for contempt and child support. We can also refer you to the correct DHR office for enforcement if you are unable to pay a private attorney. Call us today to schedule a consultation so you know your options.

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