Tag Archives: Defense Attorney

Petition for Civil Contempt of Court

You know it is coming, or at least you should. You were involved in a lawsuit but thankfully, you reached a signed settlement agreement that dictated what each party would do to resolve the litigation permanently. But…. time passed and you didn’t do some or any of the things you agreed to do. Why? That’s not the point now. What matters is you have been served with a Petition for Civil Contempt of Court and it is time to deal with the repercussions of your delay. civil contempt of court

What do you do now? Do what you agreed to do in the settlement agreement – and do it quickly! Sheer refusal or lame excuses will not go well with the court. Assuming you knew you had a duty to perform (you did sign the agreement) and you have the current ability to perform the task, your refusal or failure to perform under the settlement agreement can carry civil or criminal penalties. Yes. You. Jail. Not only could you get a dressing down by the Judge, you may also get a few days behind bars to think it over and “purge yourself of contempt”. In other words, you may not get out of jail until you perform under the settlement agreement. In fact, we are familiar with one local case where a former spouse failed to pay alimony under a Marital Dissolution Agreement (the settlement agreement) and was “housed” by the court for over two months until he made a substantial down payment on the overdue alimony.

If you have legitimate reasons for failing to perform – you can’t sell the house because it was destroyed by a tornado or you can’t deliver 10,000 widgets as agreed because a widget blight destroyed the entire international widget crop – then you have some room to work with here. Your attorney can confer with opposing counsel to determine if substitute action will suffice or perhaps all parties could modify the settlement agreement to reflect the substantial change of circumstances.

So, either way, it is time to act.  Doing so will save you time, expense and anxiety over the case.  Do what you need to do, get it behind you and move on with life.

Peace of mind is priceless.


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What to Wear to Court – Not Pajamas

pajamasIf you are reading this, you likely have an upcoming court date and aren’t sure how things work – including what to wear.

Different courts have different rules, but across the board, it is important to dress appropriately and in a way that indicates your respect for the court.  If you are not attired properly, the bailiff (the court officer) could ask you to leave the courtroom until you have corrected your clothing issue. For example, in most courts, you are not allowed to wear hats, halter tops, midriff shirts, untucked shirts, low hanging pants or other attire that shows too much skin or is otherwise too casual for the courtroom.

A Clerk of Court in Pennsylvania recently had signs posted in the court room indicating that pajamas are not appropriate court attire.  Really!  Pajamas!  You would think that would be an obvious “what not to wear” but clearly, in that courtroom, it had happened one too many times.

So, what do you wear? A suit is nice.  But if you wear one or not, always be tidy and presentable. Men can safely dress in slacks and a button down shirt. Ladies can wear the same or a skirt (make sure it is knee length or just above – no mini-skirts, please) and low-heeled shoes.

Again, the overall tone is to show the court respect both by your actions and your attire.   Just keep the pajamas at home and you should be fine.

See the no-pajama article by clicking here.

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Filed under Litigation