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California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1218

1218. (a) Upon the answer and evidence taken, the court or judge shall determine whether the person proceeded against is guilty of the contempt charged, and if it be adjudged that he or she is guilty of the contempt, a fine may be imposed on him or her not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), payable to the court, or he or she may be imprisoned not exceeding five days, or both. In addition, a person who is subject to a court order as a party to the action, or any agent of this person, who is adjudged guilty of contempt for violating that court order may be ordered to pay to the party initiating the contempt proceeding the reasonable attorney s fees and costs incurred by this party in connection with the contempt proceeding.

(b) Any party, who is in contempt of a court order or judgment in a dissolution of marriage, dissolution of domestic partnership, or legal separation action, shall not be permitted to enforce such an order or judgment, by way of execution or otherwise, either in the same action or by way of a separate action, against the other party. This restriction shall not affect nor apply to the enforcement of child or spousal support orders.

(c) In any court action in which a party is found in contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order pursuant to the Family Code, the court shall order the following:

(1) Upon a first finding of contempt, the court shall order the contemner to perform community service of up to 120 hours, or to be imprisoned up to 120 hours, for each count of contempt.

(2) Upon the second finding of contempt, the court shall order the contemner to perform community service of up to 120 hours, in addition to ordering imprisonment of the contemner up to 120 hours, for each count of contempt.

(3) Upon the third or any subsequent finding of contempt, the court shall order both of the following:

(A) The court shall order the contemner to serve a term of imprisonment of up to 240 hours, and to perform community service of up to 240 hours, for each count of contempt.

(B) The court shall order the contemner to pay an administrative fee, not to exceed the actual cost of the contemner s administration and supervision, while assigned to a community service program pursuant to this paragraph.

(4) The court shall take parties employment schedules into consideration when ordering either community service or imprisonment, or both.

(d) Pursuant to Section 1211 and this section, a district attorney or city attorney may initiate and pursue a court action for contempt against a party for failing to comply with a court order entered pursuant to the Domestic Violence Protection Act (Division 10 (commencing with Section 6200) of the Family Code). Any attorney s fees and costs ordered by the court pursuant to subdivision (a) against a party who is adjudged guilty of contempt under this subdivision shall be paid to the Office of Emergency Services account established for the purpose of funding domestic violence shelter service providers pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 13823.15 of the Penal Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 56. Effective September 26, 2013. Operative July 1, 2013, by Sec. 543 of Ch. 352.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016