Vandenburgh v. Vandenburgh presents an unique defense or two to a contempt finding.
While reading this I kept hearing this phrase in my head: Do not try this at home, kids.
Before getting to the father's argument, explaining what father did may help - father calculated his own support worksheet and started paying the amount calculated by him. (See pages 8 - 9). This might also be father's first argument:
Father makes a clearer argument (page 9 - 10) here:Father invites us to hold that a party who disregards an existing court order for
payment of child support may avoid contempt by calculating an amount he believes is more appropriate and then paying the amount he has himself calculated. Father offers no legal support for this premise, and we decline to adopt it....
Yeah, right. The Court of Appeals responded to this argument as follows:We also find offensive Father’s suggestion throughout his argument on this issue that his contempt is the trial court’s fault. E.g., ―[Father] had no support arrearage until one was judicially created when Magistrate Johnson held the support matter under advisement for nearly one (1) year after the hearing, then made the support modification retroactive . . . .‖ (Br. of Appellant at 11-12.) See also id. at 18: ―Did the court abuse its discretion in finding [Father] in contempt when the prior judge failed to rule on the
pending petition to modify for over one (1) year when there was a clear modification of support warranted . . . .‖ (Underlining and bold type removed.)
The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found Father in contempt.Contempt occurs when there is a willful and intentional disobedience of a court order. Court orders come from judges and no one else.