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      CHC 1353     

  

Art. 1353. Support provisions; contempt; penalties; defenses

            A. If the defendant violates the terms of the court order, the court, upon motion, may issue an order directing the defendant to show cause why he or she should not be found in contempt of court for failure to pay the court ordered support or maintain health care insurance, which rule shall be tried in a summary manner.

            B. If on the hearing of such rule the court finds the accused guilty of contempt for failure to comply with the judgment of the court in paying the support assessed, the court may punish for such contempt as follows, either:

            (1) The court may sentence the defendant to be imprisoned for not more than six months. The court in its discretion may suspend this term of imprisonment in whole or in part on condition that the defendant pay the total amount of unpaid support and obtain health care insurance in a manner to be determined by the court and on such other conditions as set by the court. If the court suspends the sentence in whole or in part, the court may place the defendant on probation under R.S. 15:305 with conditions of probation to be set by the court. In addition, the court may fine the defendant an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars to be paid to the applicable payee.

            (2) The court may order the defendant to pay the total amount of unpaid support to the applicable payee and obtain health care insurance within a period of time fixed by the court. During this period of time, the defendant may be released upon giving bond for his appearance in court if he fails to comply with the order of the court within the period of time fixed. Should the defendant not pay the total amount of unpaid support which the court has ordered, the defendant shall be imprisoned for not more than six months.

            C. Upon a second or subsequent finding of contempt, the court shall sentence the defendant to imprisonment for not more than six months. At the discretion of the judge, the sentence may be suspended by the court upon the occurrence of all of the following:

            (1) Payment of the amount of unpaid support.

            (2) Payment of the amount of unpaid support accrued since the date of the said order.

            (3) Payment of the amount of all attendant court costs.

            (4) Proof of health care insurance.

            D. Upon recommendation of the state attorney or the support enforcement officer, or both, the remainder of the sentence may be suspended upon payment of a lesser amount, plus attendant court costs. Such payment shall apply toward but not extinguish the total amount due.

            E. If the court finds the accused guilty of contempt, the court shall also render judgment directing the defendant to obtain health care insurance and to pay the total amount of unpaid support to the applicable payee, and attendant court costs. Such judgment for the payment of unpaid support and court costs shall have the same force and effect as a final judgment for money damages against the defendant. This judgment may be made executory by any Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction on petition of the department or the district attorney.

            F. If the defendant has entered into a recognizance in the amount fixed by the court to insure the payment of the support and maintenance of health care insurance, the court may order the forfeiture of the recognizance and enforcement thereof by execution. The sum recovered shall be paid in whole or in part to the applicable payee. However, should the court order both the forfeiture of the recognizance and at the same time order the defendant to pay all unpaid support under the sentence for contempt, the amount of unpaid support plus attendant court costs and fines shall be the maximum payable.

NOTE: Paragraph G eff. Aug. 1, 2020. See Acts 2017, No. 264; Acts 2018, No. 136; and Acts 2019, No. 277.

            G. It is a defense as provided by R.S. 9:311.1 to a charge of contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order of child support if an obligor can prove that he was incarcerated during the period of noncompliance. This defense applies only to the time period of actual incarceration.

            Acts 1993, No. 442, §2, eff. June 9, 1993; Acts 2017, No. 264, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019; Acts 2018, No. 136, §1, eff. May 11, 2018; Acts 2019, No. 277, §2.



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