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The Firm Successfully Obtains Stay Pending Appeal of Contempt Order for Failure to Pay Attorney’s Fees

Recently, the Firm successfully obtained a stay of an order that found a former husband in contempt of court for failure to pay attorney’s fees to his ex-wife’s attorney.

The parties’ marriage was dissolved by a final judgment in October of 2012. Following the final judgment, the parties litigated the issue of modification of timesharing of the parties’ children. As a result of that litigation, the trial court later ordered that the former husband pay attorney’s fees to his ex-wife’s attorney in the amount of $33,963.00. The former husband was unable to pay the attorney’s fees judgment, and the trial court entered an order finding him in civil contempt of court. The trial court’s contempt order provided that former husband would be put in jail if he did not pay $10,000.00 within fifteen days of the order.

We assisted the former husband in filing an appeal of the trial court’s contempt order to the Fifth District Court of Appeal. We also assisted our client’s trial attorney in preparing an emergency motion to stay the trial court proceedings pending the outcome of the appeal. We argued that our client had a substantial likelihood of success on appeal because the trial court’s order lacked required findings regarding our client’s present ability to pay the $10,000 purge amount, and also contained conflicting findings as to whether our client’s failure to pay was willful. We also argued that our client would suffer irreparable harm to his business if a stay was not granted.

The trial court granted our client’s motion for stay pending appeal. This result was beneficial to our client, as the stay suspends the effect of the contempt order so that our client will not be put in jail or required to pay the purge amount until the appeals court decides his appeal of the contempt order on the merits. The appeal remains pending at this time.

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