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Divorce case brings up topic of direct and indirect contempt

In many cases, divorce proceedings go relatively fast and things sort themselves out easily, that is, if both individuals cooperate and work together to reach a resolution. But as many of our readers can understand, divorce brings with it many emotions, and those emotions can lead people to act in ways that slow down the divorce process.

Some divorce cases can drag on for years and years. On top of that, the divorce itself may bring up even more legal issues if each side does not cooperate or follow the court’s rulings. Take, for example, former Miami Republican State Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla. An issue related to his divorce has made it all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court. The issue stems from an incident where he allegedly did not show up to a court hearing that was related to the custody of family dogs. He was reportedly supposed to hand over one of the two dogs to his then-wife Claudia Davant.

The interesting thing about this case is that it happened in 2011. The trial court judge issued an arrest warrant at that time which “sought to hold him in direct criminal contempt.” The issue of “direct” versus “indirect” contempt of court made it all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court, which recently ruled that anyone who doesn’t show up to a court hearing needs to be given an opportunity to explain themselves and therefore the court can’t initially rule that it was “direct” due to a lack of evidence.

This case is an example of the many facets of divorce law and what can happen if court hearings are missed.

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