Contempt of Court (Show Cause) Hearing Regarding Support
If support is not paid on time, the Friend of the Court (FOC) may begin a contempt action (known as an Order to Show Cause hearing) by scheduling a court appearance in which the judge requires the attendance of the party who is believed to be in contempt for failure to comply with the court's order. The custodial parent may ask the FOC to begin enforcement by submitting a request in writing.
If the court finds the payer in contempt, the court may require a payment toward child support or commit the person to jail. If it appears to the court that the payer may be confined to jail, the non-custodial parent may file the appropriate paperwork to request a court appointed attorney. The court is required to appoint an attorney for the payers who cannot afford private counsel.
If a payer does not appear for an Order to Show Cause hearing, the judge may issue a *bench warrant for the payer's arrest, so that he or she may be brought before the court. Once a bench warrant is issued, the duty to arrest usually lies with local law enforcement agencies. A bench warrant issued for failure to appear for an Order to Show Cause hearing has a jurisdiction limited to the State in which it is issued.
- If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of someone you believed to have a Friend of the Court bench warrant issued for his/her arrest please call local law enforcement or our office at 989-743-2397 with the information.
- There are two reason why the Friend of the Court might issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The first is for failure to appear at a court hearing for which you have been show caused. If you receive a notice for a hearing signed by a judge, and you are the party being enforced on, you MUST appear to the scheduled hearing or a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest. If a bench warrant for failure to appear has been issued for your arrest you may make arrangements to appear before your assigned judged through the Friend of the Court staff. If you are arrested on contempt for failure to appear warrant you will be brought before a judge to face possible sentencing.
- A bench warrant might also be issued for contempt due to the failure to comply with a judge's enforcement order. This bench warrant is issued after you have appeared before a judge for a show cause hearing, the judge has sentenced you to jail but suspended the sentences upon your compliance with the terms of the enforcement order. If you do not comply, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. You may or may not appear before the judge again but it is likely that you will serve time in jail for contempt.
*A bench warrant holds a maximum jail sentence of ninety (90) days.