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Have you received a notice to appear at a show cause hearing from a Michigan family court? Not sure what a show cause hearing is, or what can happen at that hearing?

When a party to a family court order fails to follow its terms, the other party can petition the family court to enforce the order, and secure the non-complying party's compliance through a show cause action. VIOLATIONS: There are many actions that may lead to a violation of a court order.

Violations of court orders come in many forms, the most common are for failure to:

  • Pay child support
  • Pay spousal support
  • Pay child care expenses
  • Pay health care expenses 
  • Pay court costs 
  • Pay attorneys fees 
  • Follow custody or parenting time schedule 

Provide information to FOC, the court, or the other party SANCTIONS In Michigan, if you are believed to have violated a court order, you may be sanctioned for your actions. Violation of a court order is a serious offense, one in which the judge can impose the following sanctions:

  • Grant you additional time to obey the order
  • Order that you provide make-up parenting time to the other party
  • Require you to pay a fine to the court • require you to pay the other party's attorneys fees
  • Order that you go to jail

The party seeking relief from the court files a motion to show cause. This motion asks the judge to remedy the non-compliant party's action. If the court believes that the party may have disobeyed a court order, then the court will issue a show cause order, and schedule a hearing requiring the party to appear in court on a specified day and time. At this hearing you need to be prepared to explain to the court why you should not be found in contempt of court for violating the order, and be able to explain why you have failed to abide by the terms of the court order.

If you have received a notice to appear at a show cause hearing, you should discuss your options with an experienced attorney. It is your right to retain counsel to represent you at this hearing. Don't go it alone. Schmitt Law, PLLC will make sure you fully understand the proceedings and your options, and will advocate for your position to make sure you are heard during this process.