Read Your Papers! – The Contempt Trap for Divorcedivorce

In a recent case decided by the State of Ohio’s 5th Appellate District, the importance of reading and understanding your divorce papers was made clear.  In Woodie v. Woodie, the wife filed a contempt motion against the husband for his failing to follow their agreement regarding his presence at a personal property exchange, and for taking personal property not designated to him by their agreed to division.  The husband acknowledged being present, but argued the property he took was his.

Lucky for the husband, the separation agreement was drafted poorly.  Due to the confusion of designation the property in the agreement, the court stated, “A party ‘cannot be found in contempt if the contempt charge is premised on a party’s failure to obey an order of the court and the order is not clear, definite, and unambiguous and is subject to dual interpretations.'”

Regardless of whether you are husband or wife, make sure you read and understand your separation agreement.  If there is confusion, make sure your attorney corrects the language, to insure you receive the rights and property you are due.  Remember, if found in contempt for taking or keeping property that was to go to your spouse, you may have to repay the full amount of the property taken, in addition to their attorney fees for the contempt action.

If you have more questions about contempt or the court process, contact the Ohio Divorce Attorney, Jamie L. Anderson, at (937)879-9542, to schedule a free  consultation.

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