Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Rule to Show Cause (Contempt Action) in Illinois

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Illinois Family Law » Rule to Show Cause (Contempt Action) in Illinois

If a person does not obey a court Order in Illinois, then there is a remedy called a Rule to Show Cause (also referred to as a Contempt Action) that can be brought to address the matter.  In Illinois, a Rule to Show Cause is often used to address failures to pay child support and interference with visitation.


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A Rule to Show Cause, or Contempt Action, is the process in Illinois through which a person brings another person’s failure to obey a court order to the attention of the court  The court can then punish a person who failed to follow its order by jailing the person, making them pay attorney fees, or making modifications to the court order so as to avoid a repeat of that violation.

Common reasons for a Rule to Show Cause in Illinois include the following:

The Rule to Show Cause process in Illinois starts with getting together the evidence that is needed to show a violation of a court Order. Sometimes this is a simple process, and other times it is complex.  An attorney who is familiar with the law in Illinois is able to determine what evidence will be needed.  Next, the Rule to Show Cause court documents are prepared and presented to the judge for an initial determination that the actions alleged would appear to constitute a violation of the court’s previous order.  From there, the Rule to Show Cause documents are served upon the opposing party and a court date is scheduled.


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Sometimes, a Rule to Show Cause will be resolved by agreement.  Often that agreement takes the form of the party that violated the court Order fixing its violation and paying some attorney fees or other monies to the other side.  Other times, the violation is so egregious that nothing short of a jail sentence will resolve the matter.  Each case is unique, and an Illinois attorney will be able to provide guidance as to what sort of outcome to expect, given the facts of the case.

As the foregoing makes obvious, a Rule to Show Cause is a serious matter in Illinois for both the person alleging contempt of court and for the person accused of contempt of court.  Accordingly, a person involved with a Rule to Show Cause in Illinois is well advised to seek an attorney at once, as handing a Rule to Show Cause properly is vital.


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