Termination of Child Support and Criminal Contempt

Termination of Child Support and Criminal Contempt are Improper Where a Party is Denied Proper Notice and a Hearing

Success on Appeal! The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco successfully reversed a trial Court’s ruling involving the termination of child support and holding the mother in criminal contempt. This appeals case arose out of a post-decree modification and contempt action filed by the Father against the Mother. Among other findings, the trial court retroactively terminated the Father’s obligation to pay child support to Mother based upon parental alienation, and sentenced Mother to 30 days in the county jail on a finding of criminal contempt. After receiving this Order, Mother retained the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco to represent her for the purpose of appealing the trial Court’s decision.

In addition to initiating the appeals process, the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco obtained an Order staying the enforcement of the trial Court’s decision during the pendency of the appeal. In addition to other issues, the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco argued that the trial Court’s decision was improper as the Mother was not provided with adequate notice of the possibility that her child support would be terminated and that she may be found in criminal contempt. On review, the Fifth District Court of Appeals agreed with this argument and REVERSED the trial Court’s decision. The Court of Appeals stated that “[t]he trial court’s sua sponte modification of child support as to [the minor children] fails to meet the due process requirements of notice and opportunity to defend. . .” and, further, that “[t]he trial court erred in summarily punishing [the Mother] for criminal contempt without notice and an opportunity for a hearing.”

To read the full decision of the Court of Appeals, click here: http://law.justia.com/cases/ohio/fifth-district-court-of-appeals/2015/14caf050033.html.

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