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Is My Ex-Husband Guilty of Contempt of Court?

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Question: Is My Ex-Husband Guilty of Contempt of Court?

My divorce has been final for nearly two years. I have asked on several occasions for family photos that were I was awarded in the final divorce decree. I will not seek the help of the lawyer who "represented" me since I learned too, late he did not. I'm in Michigan.

I just want my pictures of my deceased mother and the children I gave birth to. There are also photos of my great grandparents, the only photos of them in existence in my family. What must I do to get him to comply with what was agreed to in the documents? Thank you for your time.

Thanks,

Joanne

Answer:

Hi Joanne,

Since I’m not an attorney I can’t give you legal advice. I can however tell you what I did in a situation similar to yours. If your ex is refusing to comply with the orders handed down by the court in your final decree of divorce he is clearly in contempt of court.

You do not need an attorney to file a petition for contempt with the courts, this is something you can do yourself as a Pro Se litigant. You should contact the court clerk of the county you were divorced in and request any information he/she has regarding filing your own petition in Family Court without an attorney.

Most local courts have information online or local attorneys who hold clinics for those who are going to court as a Pro Se litigant. Your court clerk will be able to let you know if there are any local resources for you to take advantage of.

Michigan has forms online at https://courts.michigan.gov. You can search that site to find the appropriate forms to file. Or, you can go to the court clerk’s office, tell the clerk you want to file a petition for contempt. Ask, for the forms you need to file with the court and how much the filing fees and court costs will be.

If you can’t afford the filing fee and court costs you may also request the courts wave your fees due to financial hardship. There is a form you will have to fill out for the judge to approve such a waiver, the court clerk will be able to provide this also.

Once you’ve filed your petition and set a court date he will have to come up with a good reason for not complying with the original divorce order or be found in contempt. If you get lucky simply filing the petition will be the push he needs to finally give you what legally and rightfully belongs to you.

Good luck,

Cathy

 

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