How A Show Cause Hearing Works

An order to show cause is also sometimes called a Request for Order (RFO). The general purpose of an RFO is to handle matters related to custody, child support, or visitation after a divorce. However, you might also use it to show that your partner is acting in contempt of court.

When a Show of Cause Occurs

A show of cause occurs when one party files paperwork requesting a specific form of relief. When this occurs, the courts will schedule a show cause hearing and the other party will need to arrive to "show cause." That party will need to provide an acceptable explanation to the court. Each party will try to show why the other party should or should not be granted relief.

You will usually need a show cause order when your ex-spouse is not living up to their end of an agreement. In this case, the order will give you the opportunity to have this issue addressed. 

The Purpose of the Hearing

The courts typically do not want to punish either party and are simply using the show cause hearing as an opportunity to encourage each party to live up to their commitments. However, if there are repeated violations, one or both parties could be held in contempt of court. When held in contempt of court, either party might be fined or may face jail time. 

Either Party May Make Requests for Orders During the Hearing

You are not limited to one request and you may be able to resolve several issues at once during a single hearing. You may have existing orders modified as well. For example, if you were being paid child support and your partner has an increase in their income you may be able to have the child support order increased to account for their higher income.

The Importance of a Divorce Lawyer

The procedures for these hearings can vary from court to court. If you are concerned about how a potential hearing to show cause might affect you, make sure to contact a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer who helped you with your initial divorce can be a good choice because she will likely be very familiar with your case. To be able to achieve the right outcome, you will need to provide sufficient evidence to support your case and experienced legal representation can help you in this regard.

For more information, reach out to a local divorce law attorney.