Am I in contempt?

I have been pretty unsure of myself, here, and though many people say that I am “right”, I have had a few bad experiences, and wanted to ask. I have looked up the definition of contempt and read a few of the different NC cases where there are some reasonable reasons for a party to not be in contempt. so in short:

  1. ex and I have a shared parenting agreement and things have been going fabulously for 5 years, few arguments, family holidays etc.
  2. there is a court order that is relatively vague but does have us as split custody and we did have equal visitations
  3. for nearly 2 years, ex and his girlfriend have had many explosive fights, and got to the point of ex moving in and out of “her” home, and since he and I had split custody, each and every time he moved…our daughter moved as well
  4. totally nearly 25 times in 1 year…meaning every other visitation time he moved her.
  5. He and I discussed the issues each and every time, it got to the point where she simply refused to go, so we took her to a therapist who said that the instability was definitely the culprit and he had to figure something out.
  6. We had a meeting with a mutual friend, ex agreed that if he had to move one more time, that I would keep our child until he had a more stable situation.
  7. he moved again (3 more times) and finally we agreed that I would keep her for 30 days straight (with him taking her to lunch, dinner, still seeing her, just not for overnights), until he was in a more stable situation.
  8. during this time he became angry and agitated and said he had changed his mind and wanted her. I refused and made him stick to our 30 day agreement, but told him that he could see her anytime he wanted. at the end of the 30 days, I contacted him and informed him that the 30 days were up and asked if his situation was stable enough for our daughter…his response was to file contempt charges…

By LEGAL definition…am I in contempt here?

A judge can find you in contempt if you are fount to be in violation of a court order, and it sounds like you are. I know you mentioned that your order in place that is relatively vague, but review the order to see if he has violated the order in any way. You may find that he has violated the order in some way, and in which case you can file for contempt as well. That being said, you have the right to defend yourself at the contempt hearing, and I would be sure to present evidence of his frequent moving/explosive fights, etc. I would also plan on filling a modification of child custody. His frequent moving and volatile relationship indicate a change in circumstances that has occurred since the previous order and the judge will most likely change the custody schedule so that thing scan be more consistent for your daughter.

Just an update for those who would like to know, the judge did find me in contempt, primarily because I didn’t have a lawyer and absolutely didn’t know what to expect or how to present evidence. If you are being taken to court for contempt, HIRE A LAWYER. His snickers as we walked out of the room, broke me, because I know he lied his way through this proceeding and there was nothing I could do…and he knew it.

However, the judge simply said “from here on out follow the order”, which I am doing, he is not. So I am in a good position to file contempt charges against him. My problem with this, is I don’t feel that dragging this through the court system, causing more stress and fighting, is what is actually best for my daughter. I am giving him a few more chances, before I take action, because I want to utilize the court system as a last resort.

With that being said, I had already filed for a modification back in August and we are on the docket for May. I am hoping that, with an amazing lawyer by my side, that my daughters schedule will stabilize and we will come to a decision that is actually in her best interest and can aid to mend the co-parenting friendship her father and I had for 6 years.

I have now hired a lawyer, and somehow, some way we will find a way to afford him. If you are broke, scared, and really want what is best for your child and NOT revenge against your Ex…sell what you have, get a 3rd job, do what you can, and hire a lawyer.

Thank you, Rosen, for your reply and for your help over the years!