Breaking a Court Order: Consequences and Legal Ramifications

Court orders related to custody, visitation, or protective orders are put in place to protect individuals and their rights. These orders are enforceable by law and violating them can have serious consequences. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of court orders, the potential legal actions that can occur when someone violates them, and the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid violating court orders.

Understanding Court Orders

When individuals go through divorce or separation, it is common for a court to issue orders related to custody, visitation, or protective orders. These orders outline the expectations and limitations of both parties, with the intention of protecting the rights of everyone involved.

For example, a protective order may be put in place to keep one party away from the other, while a visitation order may outline the specific days and times each parent is allowed to see their child. Violating these orders can have serious consequences.

Consequences of Violating a Court Order

The consequences of violating a court order can vary based on the severity of the violation. Typically, the more severe the violation, the harsher the legal actions can be.

Civil Contempt of Court

The most common legal action for violating a court order is a civil contempt of court charge. This occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally violates a court order and can result in fines or even jail time.

One example of civil contempt is the case of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood was charged with the murder of a 15-year-old boy in California in 2000. During the trial, Hollywood was out on bail and specifically ordered not to leave the state. However, he fled to Brazil and was eventually caught and brought back to the US. Hollywood was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Criminal Contempt of Court

In some cases, violating a court order can result in criminal charges. This is most likely to occur in cases of protective orders or restraining orders. Criminal contempt of court charges can result in fines or jail time.

Modification of Court Orders

In some cases, the violation of a court order can lead to a modification of the order. For example, if one parent consistently violates a visitation order, the court may modify the order to reduce the amount of visitation time.

Other Consequences

Violating a court order can also have other consequences, such as damaging relationships between parties or worsening the overall situation. It is important to understand that any court order violation can have ripple effects beyond just legal action.

Steps to Take if a Court Order is Violated

If a court order is violated, the first step is to contact an attorney. An attorney can guide individuals through the legal process and help them understand their rights. Additionally, they can help file a motion for contempt of court or any other necessary legal action. For those accused of violating a court order, obtaining legal counsel is crucial. Time is of the essence in these cases so be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Violating Court Orders

The best way to avoid violating a court order is to understand the specifics of the order and maintain open lines of communication between parties. If something comes up that may conflict with the order, it is important to speak with an attorney and petition the court for a modification. Additionally, if there are concerns about the safety of one party involved, it may be helpful to seek a protective order or restraining order before a violation occurs.


Violating a court order related to custody, visitation, or protective orders can have serious consequences. It is important to understand the legal ramifications and take preventative measures to avoid violating these orders. If a court order is violated, seeking legal advice and counseling can help individuals navigate these complex legal battles. Remember, court orders are put in place to protect you and your rights – it is important to take them seriously.

Contact Arnel Law Firm for legal guidance you can trust.