Contempt and Modification

Mississippi Contempt and Modification Attorney

Modification of a previous court order is possible in the state of Mississippi based upon a material change of circumstances adverse to the welfare of a child or children and that that change in custody is in the best interest of the child.  There are different standards of modification of spousal support than those that exist as above described for modification of custody.  Modification of visitation is also possible in the state of Mississippi and visitation generally will be structured to allow the non-custodial parent a meaningful relationship with the child.  The courts generally do not favor restrictions on visitations unless they are necessary for the physical or psychological health or safety for a minor childchildren.  A change in circumstance is not necessary to modify visitation, instead, all that needs to be shown is a prior decreeorder provides for reasonable visitation rights isn’t working and that it is in the best interest of the childchildren to alter that schedule.

Very often when a party seeks modification of a court order, they have also alleged contempt (the willful and obstinate violation of a court order) and they seek modification of the order so far as to effectuate prevention of any future contempt or to alleviate past harms that may have been done.  The traditional tool for encouraging a delinquent payer to meet child support is civil contempt, the custodial parent must establish a prima facia case of contempt by showing the court has ordered child support and it has not been met.  The non-custodial parent may rebut the case by showing inability to pay those sums that have been ordered by the court.  It is notable that the Department of Human Services has the authority to report delinquencies to credit unions and to revoke the driver’s licenses as well as professional or business licenses for failure to meet court ordered child support.

A modification of child support requires that there is a substantial material change in the mother or father or child since the original decree was entered and that change must not be one that could have been anticipated by the parties when the chancellor entered the original decree.  The court can consider many factors including increased needs of older children, increased expenses, inflation, the parent’s financial condition, earning capacity, tax liability, and health and special needs.  The court may also consider the payers living expenses.

If you are dealing with a failure to meet the obligations in a court order regarding child custody, visitation, or payment of support, consider contacting a licensed attorney who may help you navigate the varying statutes in order to seek the best result possible.   It is important to ask your attorney in filing any contempt action whether a consideration should be given to also filing a request with the court for modification of the matter that has been previously ordered by the court and acknowledged by Mississippi law.