Firstly, it must be noted that no, contempt of Court does not relate solely to criminal proceedings nor to criminal behaviour. Contempt of Court applies whenever behaviour exhibits simple disregard of a Court order.

Contempt of Court is divided into two categories namely, civil contempt and criminal contempt. In terms of the latter instance, disgrace is brought upon the Court’s moral authority. In terms of civil contempt of Court, an action of disobedience is displayed.

In order to find the contemnor in contempt, a notice of motion along with an affidavit is used in support of the application. The notice of motion must state that the Respondent is to show cause as to why an order should not be made on a final basis declaring that the said Respondent is in contempt of a particular paragraph of the Court’s order alternatively, is in contempt of the Court’s order in totality.

However, certain elements must be proven in order to determine whether the contemnor can in fact be found in contempt. The below requirements must be satisfied in order to succeed with your application:

·         The existence of the order;

·         The order must be served on, or brought to the notice of the alleged contemnor;

·         There must be non – compliance with the order; and

·         The non – compliance must be wilful and mala fide (there must be deliberate defiance of the Court order).

If you find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse is failing and/or refusing to comply with a Court Order, you may need to consider launching a contempt of Court Application so as to ensure compliance therewith. The Court does not take kindly to those who blatantly disregard Orders, and relief may be granted in your favour.

For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.

Author – Jessica Gooding

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