Step-parent held in contempt of court in Arizona?  All court orders that are handed down in cases involving child custody have significant ramifications for any individuals involved in the lives of those children. Generally speaking, though, a person has to be considered “subject” to a court order in order to be found in contempt of it. Since a stepparent is not generally “subject” to a court order, they would not properly be found in contempt of a visitation order.  This is the holding of a 2008 case in Arizona, which overturned the finding of contempt against stepfather but affirmed a contempt finding against a mother after refusing to comply with court orders. The case is Munari v. Hotham, 217 Ariz. 599, 177 P.3d 860 (Ariz. App. 2008).

Contempt of Court Can Cover Many Issues, Including Visitation

When a parent or person “subject” to a court order does not comply with existing court orders such as a parenting or visitation schedule, he or she could be held in contempt of court and face potential sanctions. Contempt can also extend to orders for child support or spousal maintenance.

How Can I Avoid Being Found in Contempt?

It is important that if you are involved in any case like this that you consult with a knowledgeable Arizona family lawyer so that you understand all of your rights and responsibilities. Any individual who is seen to be interfering with a court order could face serious consequences in the form of a contempt of court finding.

Being accused of contempt of court is problematic for the overall case as well as for you. It can be a civil or a criminal finding. If the judge finds you in contempt, he or she may feel that you have a disregard for the rules or orders of the court. This is unnerving for you to go through, even if you did something unintentionally. This is why parties in to a family law matter should consult with or hire an attorney to help explain the various issues influencing their case. Court orders are not always easy to read, so having an attorney explain the terms to you clearly can help you avoid problems. Consult with your Arizona family attorney about any orders so that you know what to do.

Being held in contempt of court is a serious issue that could impact you as an individual and as a party to a family court action. It is imperative that you understand the role you play in the child’s life but how you must comply with any court orders. Contact a knowledgeable Arizona family lawyer today to learn more about your rights as well as your responsibilities.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Step-parent Held in Contempt of Court in Arizona?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.