Sometimes it is good to take a deep breath before you go barging ahead in your case. I recently defended a Rule to Show Cause (contempt) hearing for a client filed by his wife. It appeared that she filed it as a retaliation for a letter that I mailed to her on behalf of my client. There were some pretty nasty allegations of contempt in the papers and my client was worried although he believed he had done nothing wrong. Just so you know, a rule to show cause hearing is what a person files to enforce a previous court order. If someone has not done what they were ordered to do by the court and they are found to have willfully disobeyed that order they can be punished by jail time up to one year, fines up to $1,500.00 and up to 300 hours of community service (or any combination of the three). This is serious!
As we walked into the courtroom, my client’s ex-wife appeared cocky and arrogant. She sought the contempt and attorney fees. However, she did not have a strong case. She let emotion and anger rule her rather than common sense. She did not tell the whole story to her attorney who was not ready for our defense. The rule to show cause was dismissed, and to add insult to injury for the ex-wife, she was ordered to pay for my client’s attorney fees for defending the matter.
So, next time you feel like you’ve been done wrong and you’re ready to bring the shock and awe, take a step back, honestly consult with your lawyer and make a plan, but don’t forget to look at the big picture and don’t forget that anything can happen in the courtroom and quickly things can get turned around on you.