Contempt

The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public, and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 800-362-9082 for additional assistance.

Contempt of court is a legal proceeding in which the Court declares a person to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the Court's authority. If a party is not following or doing what is required by the court order, parties may make the Court aware of the non-compliant behavior by filing for contempt.

There are two types of contempt. The type of contempt depends on the type of finding request a party is suspected of not following:

  1. Physical Placement Order is not being followed:
    • The other party has denied a specific time of physical placement (visitation) or not returned the child as required; or
    • The other party has interfered with the physical placement schedule; or
    • One party has incurred a financial loss or expense as a result of the other parent's failure to exercise placement.
  2. Any other portion of the order that is not being followed, such as, but not limited to:
    • The other party's failure to pay child support and/or arrears payments;
    • The other party's failure to reimburse for health care expenses, variable expenses, etc. paid by the petitioning party.
    • The other party's failure to pay or refinance a debt as ordered.

Do not use contempt forms if:

  • A divorce, legal separation, or paternity judgment or establishment orders have not yet been granted; or
  • A party is requesting modification (change) of a court order or judgment. Click here for information on changing (modifying) a court order.

Fees

  • Filing fees: There are no filing fees to file a contempt motion.
  • Service fees: Determined by Sheriff's Department/Process Server

An individual can petition the Court to waive court fees and costs. Petition and Order for Waiver of Fees (PDF).

Forms and Instructions

Pro se family forms and instructions regarding contempt are available at the Wisconsin Court Systems Website.

Form FA-609 (PDF) Notice of Hearing and Motion to Enforce Physical Placement Order

  • The petitioning party is to complete the appropriate sections of the document and sign on the last page before a notary public.
    • The caption (top section of page 1 with the parties' names, addresses, and case number) shall remain the same as the original case filing documents (i.e. summons, joint petition).

Form FA-4172VA (PDF) Affidavit for Finding of Contempt

  • The petitioning party is to complete the document and sign on the last page before a notary public.
    • The caption (top section of page 1 with the parties' names, addresses, and case number) shall remain the same as the original case filing documents (i.e. summons, joint petition).

Form FA-4172VB (PDF) Order to Show Cause for Finding of Contempt

  • The petitioning party is to complete the caption.
    • The caption (top section of page 1 with the parties' names, addresses, and case number) shall remain the same as the original case filing documents (i.e. summons, joint petition).

Filing Instructions

Bring the completed forms to the Oconto County Family Court Commissioner's Office, 301 Washington Street, Building C - Rm 1174, Oconto, WI to obtain a hearing date.

Once the hearing date is scheduled, bring the document to the Oconto County Clerk of Courts, 301 Washington Street, Building C - Rm 1217, Oconto, WI for filing.

The Clerk of Courts Office will file the original document and return three authenticated copies to you.

  • Keep one authenticated copy for your records.
  • One copy is to be served on the other party.
  • The Sheriff's Department/Process Server may require a copy of their records.

Service Instructions

"Service" and "service of process" are legal terms used to describe the act of giving notice of a lawsuit or court hearing to another person. There are several different methods and very specific time limits by which you must have the other party served. The type of service you are required to use depends on the type of action you are filing.

Form Name & NumberType of Service RequiredService Time Limits
Petition to Enforce Physical Placement (Form FA-609)
PersonalNot less than 5 business days before the date of the hearing
Order to Show Cause & Affidavit for Finding of Contempt (Form FA-4172VA & FA-4172VB)
PersonalNot less than 5 business days before the date of the hearing

Preparing for and Going to Court

  1. Bring the following items with you to the court hearing:
    • Proof of Service
    • Three copies of any documentation you think may help you make your case to the Court
    • Individuals to testify on your behalf. (A letter, affidavit, email or text from an individual, police department, or any other witness may not be acceptable.)
  2. Please do not bring children to the court hearing.
  3. Check in with the Family Court Commissioner's Office Room 1174 at least 5 minutes before the scheduled court time. Parties are expected to be on time.
  4. Present your case to the Court.
    • Be prepared to state your side of each issue clearly and completely.
    • Be prepared to answer questions that may be asked of you by the Court or others.
  5.  Be prepared to provide evidence. Make two additional copies of any exhibit you are intending to submit to the Court. The Court will keep the original exhibit. One copy is for the opposing party and the other copy is for yourself.
  6. Courteousness and proper decorum is required at all court appearances.