How do you prove someone is in contempt?

We’ve covered the general concept of contempt, but what exactly do you have to do to build a case? What evidence do you need to prove someone is in contempt?

First, organize your evidence.

The first step is to make sure you have all of your evidence organized. For financial issues, such as child support or alimony, this means a full accounting of every payment that was due and any payment you received. For medical expenses or other reimbursements, you’ll need invoices, receipts and proof that you provided them to the other party in the manner required by your specific court order. This is in addition to an accounting of all monies owed and payments received. 

But what if it’s not financial? For example, your child’s parent has refused to exchange custody in accordance with your order. In that case, you’ll need a timeline of events including exchange dates and communications regarding the issue.

You will also need to have clear records of all communications regarding the issue. For that reason, it’s a good idea to communicate in writing when this sort of issue arises.

When compiling your communication records, it is important that messages have clear time stamps showing the date and time of the message. If you’re taking a screenshot of a text message on your phone, you’ll want to wait until the date appears. The format “Yesterday 8:57 PM” is not particularly helpful by the time you will use a message as evidence. It is also a good idea to keep a complete record of the conversation from start to finish. This is not only helpful for painting a full picture of the situation, but it could also save your attorney from spending hours trying to organize piecemeal communications. Saving attorney time means saving money on attorney’s fees. 

Next, try to resolve the problem amicably.

Before you move forward, the first step is always to attempt to resolve the issue with the other party before taking legal action. This can be as simple as a text message or as formal as a certified letter depending on your particular circumstances.

Know when to contact an attorney.

If your attempt to resolve the issue without legal action is ignored or does not resolve the situation to your satisfaction, it may be time to proceed with a Motion for Order to Show Cause, requesting that the judge in your case required the other party to appear in court and provide an explanation as to why they should not be held in contempt of court for their failure to follow the order. 

While there are forms available on the Washoe County Court website, you may want to contact a Nevada licensed attorney to advise you on your specific case to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Gloria Petroni is a licensed Nevada Attorney with over 40 years of experience. She is a family law specialist and practices in the areas of family law, probate and estate planning. This article is meant to be informative. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Every case is different. If you have questions about your case, you should contact a Nevada licensed attorney. We would love to hear from you. 


At Petroni Law Group, our goal is to provide each and every client with an unobstructed view of all aspects of a case by aiding in informed decision-making and clear understanding of possible outcomes.

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