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 such actions by submitting a request.

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 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.