Show Cause Hearings

Contempt of Court

When the FOC is informed that a parent may have violated the court's order regarding child custody, family support payments, or parenting time, the court will order that party to appear in court and "show cause" (explain) why the court should not find them "in contempt of court."

A show cause hearing may be held for failing to obey orders such as:

  • Pay child support
  • Pay spousal support
  • Pay child care expenses
  • Pay health care expenses
  • Pay court costs
  • Pay attorney fees
  • Follow the custody or parenting time schedule established by the court
  • Provide information that a party was required to provide

A Show Cause Order requires the party to appear in court on a specified date and respond to the FOC's allegations. In court, the party must explain why the court should not find them in "contempt of court" for violating the order.

If you do not attend a show cause hearing, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Failure to appear may also result in suspension of your driver's license, occupational or recreational license.

If the court determines that the party obeyed the earlier order, the show cause proceeding will be dismissed.

But, if the party cannot prove they obeyed the order, the court usually finds the party in contempt of court.

Possible Sanctions for Violating a Court Order (Other Sanctions Also Available)

Failing to Pay Support

  • Grant additional time to comply with the order
  • Require them to pay a specific amount of money by a certain date.
  • Failing to pay a "purge" or contempt charge may result in commitment to the Montcalm County Jail for a period of up to 90 days.

Custody or Parenting Time

  • Order "makeup" parenting time
  • Fines can be imposed