I’ll often get questions from people about weather conditions and whether they have to take the person to the exchange. This is an issue that comes up from time to time in court. The major issue that you have in court with this is one person claiming that the weather was so bad that they could not go and meet up for the parenting exchange. They may also claim that their life or safety was at stake. So those are the two extremes that people claim. What the court is going to do is the key thing here is if the person is legitimately not able to make it to the exchange, then the court will look at it and likely conclude that the person is not in contempt. Typically when someone doesn’t fulfill the obligations of a court order they can potentially be held in contempt of court.
So the process works in this way. After a contempt of court is filed you go to court with one person claiming that the weather is such, that they couldn’t have made it. Then the other person is claiming that they could. The court is going to look at what the conditions were and hear the testimony of the person claiming that the weather was such, that they couldn’t appear. The other person is going to claim that the person is just a liar and there’s no reason they shouldn’t have done the exchange. Then the court will have to decide. So, even if the court sides in favor of the person claiming that there was a legitimate reason for the exchange not to happen courts are usually inclined towards granting the other person some sort of make-up time. It’s unfortunate that we have to get to this point in these cases where people are making claims like that in court. However, sometimes it gets to that point. So the court will have to sort it out and once they do they’ll determine whether the one individual should be held in contempt of court.
Now, some of the remedies for contempt of court include incarceration, as well as potentially attorney fees. It’s more likely that a person is going to be awarded attorney fees or something along those lines or possibly fines. The court will not likely incarcerate somebody for any kind of claim of contempt of court on the first go-round unless it’s a special circumstance. So just remember if you’re not going to go out in the snow for an exchange, make sure that you have a legitimate argument and claim because otherwise, you could end up in court.
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