Show Cause and Contempt


#1

I have a procedural question concerning Contempt of Court on a Consent Order. I have written the Motions myself and I am acting pro se.

I have the Motion for Contempt ready to go. It offers a list of infractions (4), each one coupled to the corresponding condition as written in the Order. I didn’t elaborate on each thinking I would save the finer points for the trial. Or do I elaborate because of Discovery issues?

This gets confusing with the timing issue. I am sending my Motions to be filed in a Courthouse 4 hours away. I am filing them with a calendar request. I will have to be at the calendar call on a Tuesday before the trial week. Do I write a Motion for Show Cause that is a mini-version of the Motion for Contempt, file them both, send both to her within the allowable time frame? If I get a date for trial at the calendar call…how does a judge sign a Show Cause Order prior to the trial day, or does he sign it from the bench on trial day, with both of us there and my Motion for Contempt to be heard since she had previously received a Show Cause Motion.
Do I need to have a pre-prepared form complete with case number, etc for the judges’s convenience so that all he does is sign it. I ask all of this because in the old court district I had a Contempt case heard without a Show Cause Motion…this is a new venue and I want it done right.

Also are subpoenas filed at the time the Motions are filed and how can I supply a date to appear if I haven’t been to the calendar call yet? Or do I have the subpoenas ready at calendar, lacking only the trial date, fill that in and send them off with one week for the recipients to prepare? I also need to send a subpoena to the other side and I think that needs to be done sooner rather than later.

One more concern…I have a solid case for Modification based on case law, primarily Woncik v Woncik. The same elements I am using for the Contempt Motion are applicable for the Motion for Modification and Custody. If I use them for the Contempt motion, can I use them again on the same day for the Modification. In other words, can the same evidence used for the Contempt of Court trial be used again for the Motion for Modification? Also how much detail do I need in the Modification Motion as making the necessary case for the Filing of the Motion. She has multiple infractions, do I list them all as to include them for her Discovery. For instance, if she has interfered with my visitation 6 times over the past year, do I list all 6, or just 3 and save the other three for trial?

And last but not least. Based on her corrupting influence on my kids, I stand a good chance of winning my Modification. However, I am not employed and I live in a different town then my teenage girls. The judge will not likely grant me Custody due to my financial condition and the high school, social advantages they currently have. Not to mention their poisonous attitude towards me. I am willing to relocate to their town but that is still not set in stone. My purpose is to show the Court that she is psychologically unfit, get her into counseling along with my girls and to get my kids back on a program of visitation that is not being constantly undermined. The original Order is also fraught with ambiguity that a previous trial judge already admitted to and I need those issues addressed as well. What alternative rulings can I expect?


#2

The allegations contained in your motion need to be specific enough to put the other party on notice about what you are claiming is a violation of the court order. You do not need to give all the details that you will present at trial.

You should file the motion for order to appear and show cause at the same time as the motion for contempt. Include in your letter a proposed order to appear and show cause, and request that the clerk present the judge the motion for ruling. Put on your order to appear and show cause the same date and time that you are calendaring your motion for contempt. Make sure to include an additional return envelope for return of the order as it may come back separately from your file-stamped motion for contempt, notice of hearing and calendar request. When that order is returned to you, mail that to the opposing party with a new certificate of service.

You can send your subpoenas out at any time. They do not need to be submitted to the court at the same time as filing the motion.

If you want to file a motion to modify, you should do so at this time. Don’t allow her to remedy the wrongs because you may lose your argument that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

You should include all instances when the other party has violated the order in all of your motions.