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Defenses at Trial Court Proceedings for Civil Contempt

Court proceedings may be discontinued at any time at the State’s Attorney’s discretion.

At trial, Child Support Services (CSS) attempts to prove that the obligor is guilty of civil contempt for non-payment of child support, while the obligor is given an opportunity to present a defense. The court rules on the civil contempt based on the evidence presented.

Once the State’s Attorney has established the elements, the burden shifts to the obligor to prove that the obligor’s failure to pay was not willful. These are the most common defenses to a contempt citation:

  • The obligor shows he or she is not the person who owes the child support;
  • The obligor shows he or she paid the child support alleged to have been unpaid; or
  • The obligor alleges the failure to pay was not willful:
    • The obligor shows he or she has a mental or physical health problem that prevents him or her from working; or
    • The obligor provides other proof that he or she has been unable to work for the period for which the past child support was due.

Legal Authority:

see this Quest article – Civil Contempt Legal Authority