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Defenses to Civil Contempt at Trial

Once the State’s Attorney has established the elements of civil contempt, 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.