In a paternity case and in a child support matter, a contempt of court order must contain findings that: (i) a prior order was entered, (ii) the payor failed to pay part or all of the support ordered, (iii) the contemnor had the present ability to pay support, and (iv) that the alleged contemnor willfully failed to comply with the prior court order. In Napoli v. Napoli, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated:
“We reverse and remand for further proceedings because the trial court’s contempt order does not contain the written findings required by rule 12.615 of |the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure… When a trial court finds that a civil contempt has occurred, it must enter a written order containing: a finding that a prior order of support was entered, that the alleged contemnor has failed to pay part or all of the support ordered, that the alleged contemnor had the present ability to pay support, and that the alleged contemnor willfully failed to comply with the prior court order. The order shall contain a recital of the facts on which these findings are based… We hold that the written contempt order in this case does not comport with these requirements. First, the contempt order does not contain an express finding that the Husband willfully failed to comply with the court’s temporary relief order. Second, the contempt order does not articulate the facts supporting the court’s conclusion that the Husband had the ability to comply with the court’s prior order. Finally, the contempt order sanctions the Husband with incarceration but does not contain a separate, affirmative finding that he had the present ability to comply with the purge.”
To speak with a paternity attorney in Boynton Beach, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.