How to File Contempt of Court in Tennessee

Title: How to File Contempt of Court in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide


Contempt of court refers to a legal action taken against an individual who willfully disobeys or shows disrespect towards the authority or decisions of a court. In Tennessee, filing for contempt of court requires a thorough understanding of the process and the applicable laws. This article aims to provide a step-by-step guide on how to file contempt of court in Tennessee, along with frequently asked questions to help you navigate this legal procedure effectively.

I. Understanding Contempt of Court in Tennessee:

Contempt of court can be either civil or criminal, and it can occur in various scenarios, such as failure to comply with court orders, disrupting court proceedings, or undermining the authority of the court. In Tennessee, contempt of court falls under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, depending on the nature of the contempt.

II. Steps to File Contempt of Court in Tennessee:

1. Consult an Attorney: It is advisable to consult an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process and ensure your case is handled appropriately.

2. Determine the Type of Contempt: Identify whether the contempt is civil or criminal, as the process and consequences may vary.

3. Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant evidence that supports your claim of contempt, including documents, photographs, or witness statements.

4. Draft a Contempt Motion: Prepare a formal document called a “Motion for Contempt” that outlines the facts, evidence, and legal arguments supporting your claim. Ensure that the motion complies with the specific requirements set by Tennessee law.

See also  What Does Legal Custody of a Child Mean

5. File the Motion: Submit the motion to the appropriate court with jurisdiction over the case. Be aware of any filing fees and follow the court’s procedures for submission.

6. Serve the Opposing Party: Ensure that the motion is properly served to the individual or party alleged to be in contempt. Follow Tennessee’s rules for service, which typically involve delivering a copy to the opposing party or their legal representative.

7. Attend a Hearing: After the motion is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to review the case. Attend the hearing and present your evidence and arguments in support of the contempt claim.

8. Court Order: If the court concludes that contempt has occurred, it will issue a court order outlining the consequences or corrective actions required.

III. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. What are the consequences of contempt of court in Tennessee?
– Civil contempt consequences may include fines, compensatory damages, or imprisonment until compliance with the court order.
– Criminal contempt consequences may result in fines, imprisonment, or both, as determined by the court.

2. Can I file for contempt of court if the other party violates a parenting plan?
– Yes, violations of parenting plans are grounds for contempt of court. Gather evidence of the violation and follow the steps outlined above.

3. Can I file for contempt if the judge makes an unfavorable ruling?
– No, contempt of court cannot be used to challenge a judge’s ruling. Instead, consider appealing the decision through the appropriate legal channels.

4. Can I file for contempt against an attorney or court official?
– Yes, if an attorney or court official engages in conduct that undermines the court’s authority or violates ethical standards, you may file a contempt motion against them.

See also  How Much Do a Power of Attorney Cost

5. Can I represent myself in a contempt of court case?
– Yes, you have the right to represent yourself in court. However, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel to ensure the best possible outcome.


Filing for contempt of court in Tennessee requires careful adherence to the legal procedures outlined by the state. By understanding the steps involved and seeking the assistance of an attorney, you can effectively navigate the process and protect your rights. Remember to gather sufficient evidence, file a motion, and attend the hearing diligently. For specific legal advice or guidance, consult an experienced attorney well-versed in Tennessee’s contempt laws.