Westchester County Contempt Of Court Lawyer

During and after a divorce in New York, if a judge issues an order regarding property division, child custody, spousal support, child support, or child visitation, both ex-partners are expected to abide by the court order. If one party fails to comply, the other party can bring an action to hold the non-compliant party in contempt of court. If you need to take legal action to enforce compliance, or if you are unable to comply with a court order for any reason in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, get the legal help you need right away and speak immediately with an experienced Westchester County contempt of justice attorney at Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC.


If you simply cannot comply with a court order, you can’t just stop paying; your ex-spouse could take legal action to have you held in contempt of court. If your situation has changed, you need to file a motion for modification of a court order. Reasons an order might be modified by the court include but are not limited to:

  • you have been seriously injured or disabled
  • you have become unemployed or otherwise lost regular income
  • you have become the parent of a new child with another partner

At Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC, we can handle the legal details on your behalf. And if you are not receiving the child support or spousal support that the court has ordered, we can ask the judge to find your ex-spouse in contempt.


If you fail to obey the rules of the child support order that has been issued by a judge, you may be held in contempt of court. When you miss a payment, the receiving parent may request a hearing with a judge and ask that you be held in contempt of court. You will be issued a document that alerts you of the day and time of the hearing, where you will be expected to explain to the judge why you have not made the payment. If you choose not to attend this hearing, the judge has the power to issue a warrant for your arrest. However, the judge may still decide to arrest you even if you show up in court, but only if your story about why you have not paid is not convincing.

It’s essential that you bring an experienced Westchester County contempt of justice attorney with you to the hearing. The goal of this hearing is to show the judge that you have not deliberately stopped paying child support, but rather you cannot afford to do so anymore. For example, if you have been unemployed because you were laid off from your job, it would be wise to bring in a sworn statement from your former employer to show the judge that you are no longer employed. Provide the judge with records that show you have been searching for a new job but have not had any lucky yet.

Even if you have evidence to show why you did not pay the support, you have to justify why you stopped paying instead of requesting a modification. Unlike criminal court where the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, when you are brought in front of a judge because you stopped paying child support, it is your responsibility to prove that it was not a willful violation. If you have been ill, make sure that you submit evidence from medical professionals or caretakers to show the judge. Perhaps you were in the process of speaking to lawyers about submitting a modification request to the court. If this is the case, present a list of lawyers that you spoke to so the judge knows you were trying to do the right thing instead of not paying.

At the end of the hearing, the judge must decide how to proceed forward. The judge can put you in jail for not paying child support or he can set up a schedule that outlines how you will pay support moving forward and how you will make up for missed payments. The judge has the power to withhold your paycheck, put a lien on your property or require that you post bond or other assets. The judge can also suspend the driver’s license or professional license of the parent who has stopped paying, although this is not as common.

Judges do not typically put parents in jail for missed child support payments unless withholding wages does not work. This is because judges recognize that if a parent is in jail, he or she cannot earn an income, so the move would not be effective or in the best interests of the child. Remember, it’s important that you make every child support payment after an order has been issued by the court to avoid being held in contempt of court. If you fear that you cannot make a child support payment and will be held in contempt of court, speak to an experienced Westchester County contempt of justice attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney at your hearing will only benefit you. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to show that you did not willfully stop child support payments and petition for a modification of the existing order.


Westchester County contempt of court attorney
An experienced Westchester County contempt of justice attorney can help you make informed choices regarding your divorce and its aftermath. We offer cost-efficient, effective legal solutions. Contact Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC as quickly as possible for a free initial consultation if you need enforcement – or modification – of a court order subsequent to a divorce in New York. With offices in Peekskill and Poughkeepsie, we serve clients in Beacon, Fishkill, Wappingers Falls, Newburgh, Tarrytown, Greenburgh, Westchester County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, Orange County, and Rockland County. To learn more about how an experienced Westchester County contempt of justice attorney can help you, email us or call us promptly at (914) 402-4541.

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