Defense of Information for Contempt

DISCLAIMER: This is intended to be an educational and informational guide.  It is not intended to be or to substitute for legal advice and representation.  Law, legal requirements, and procedures vary from place to place.  It is advisable to consult an attorney.

What is your defense?

An Information for Contempt is a petition alleging someone has deliberately disobeyed an order issued by a Court.  The Court can punish those who deliberately disobey its orders.

If an Information for Contempt is filed against you for non-payment of child support, non-payment of medical bills, or some other non-payment or non-compliance with a Court order, you must be prepared to show the Judge you have been willing, but unable, to obey the Court's order.  You may be found in contempt if the other side can prove you have: (a) earned money and willfully refused to pay or (b) willfully refused to look for employment (child support only).  You should prepare specific and detailed records in writing showing you are unable to pay and if you are unemployed, you are looking for work.  You may make partial payments.  Paying something is better than paying nothing.

In Court, you should show the Judge your income has not been enough to meet your reasonable expenses and there has not been any money available to pay the Court order.

What information must you show the Judge?

Starting from the date of the Court order or the last time you were in Court, do the following: 

a. Get copies of all pay checks or pay stubs or other proof of income including your tax returns.

b. Make a list of all of your employers including names, addresses, rates of pay, hours of work, length of your employment, and why the employment ended.  

c. List your unemployment, TANF, food stamps, pensions, Social Security, or other benefits you have received, including the dates you receive them and the amounts.  Bring your Social Security benefit you receive.

d. List any other income, including child support or financial assistance you receive, the dates received and the amounts.  

e. Make a list of the amount you spend each month for:  

  • housing [rent or house payment]  
  • utilities [electricity, water, phone, and cable]  
  • food  
  • necessary transportation  
  • loan payments  
  • other child support payments  
  • medical bills

What if you have no job?

If you have not worked since the last Court order, or the last time you were in Court, and do not work now, make a list of the names and addresses of each prospective employer where you have applied for work, including the date that you applied.  Also, bring proof that you are currently registered at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Work One or Vocational Rehabilitation Services. 

Where do you pay child support?

Always pay child support through the Vanderburgh County Clerk's Office.  Go to the Support Clerk's Office located in Room 216 of the Courts Building to open an account.  Never pay child support directly to the children's custodian. If you do, it may be considered a gift.  (If you are paying on a judgment other than child support, pay through the County Clerk's Office in Room 216 of the Court's Building.) Before you come to Court, always go to the Clerk's Office and get a current printout of your payments.  If you do not pay your child support, the Court may garnish your wages (take money out of your pay check), attach and sell your car or other real or personal property, attach a lien to your real estate, take your state and federal income tax refund, take lottery winnings, take a portion of your unemployment benefits, report you to the Credit Bureau, suspend your driver's license or any professional license, or sentence you to jail.