Under Minnesota Statute § 588.01, subd. 3(3), the court may hold someone in contempt of court for “disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, or process of the court.”

So, for example, if your ex-spouse is refusing to allow you parenting time with your child as agreed to in your judgment, you may ask the court to hold him or her in contempt of court.

In order for the court to hold a party in contempt for failing to follow a judgment or decree, the following requirements must be met:

a)      the ordering court must have had jurisdiction of the subject matter;

b)     the judgment or decree clearly defined the acts to be performed by the party;

c)      the party directed to perform had notice of the court’s judgment and decree and a reasonable time within which to comply;

d)     the party adversely affected by the alleged failure of the directed party to comply has asked the court for help in compelling performance;

e)      the party charged with nonperformance be given an opportunity to show compliance or reasons for failure at a hearing;

f)       after the hearing, the court will determine whether there was failure to follow the order and if so, whether confinement is likely to produce compliance;

g)      confinement should not be used to get a party to do something which he is not able to do;

h)     when confinement is directed, the party confined should be released by compliance or, in some cases, by his agreement to comply as directed to the best of his ability.

Hopp v. Hopp, 279 Minn. 170, 156 N.W.2d 212 (Minn., 1968).  [Emphasis added].

This means that you would need to show the court that your judgment clearly explains what the other party was supposed to do, that the other party knew what the judgment directed them to do and a reasonable opportunity to cooperate, and that the other party was actually able to comply, but did not.

This kind of hearing would be helpful in getting your ex-spouse to cooperate with a parenting time schedule, however, Minnesota law does not permit a contempt motion in actions involving enforcement of debt.  (Minn. Stat. §491A.01).  This kind of case would include a situation where one spouse was assigned a jointly held debt, but failed to make the appropriate payments assigned to him or her.  A more appropriate action in this kind of case would be a motion for a reimbursement judgment.

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