When an individual is found to have undermined or disobeyed an order of the court, the individual is accused of contempt of court. This usually occurs when an individual or entity is found to impede or interrupt the legal process during a court trial. When this occurs, the court issues a contempt order, which ca be done in any civil or criminal suit. The individual or entity found to be guilty of contempt of court is referred to as a contemnor. A contemnor may suffer a punishment or sanction as issued in a contempt order.
There are various forms of contempt of court that merit a contempt order, mostly because the court and its participants demand a certain level of respect. In a civil case, a contempt order may be issued when a litigant has refused to comply with a previously issued court order. A civil contempt is also known as an indirect contempt since the contempt is usually not done in the presence of the court. A civil contempt order usually compels the contemnor into committing a certain action rather than punishing the contemnor. This is a common occurrence when dealing with child custody rights, alimony, and other minor claims. A contempt hearing is done in order to prove that the contemnor has indeed committed an act that is found to be in contempt of the court.
Another kind of contempt order is a criminal contempt order wherein the individual has impeded or interrupted the legal proceedings or has demonstrated inappropriate behavior in the presence of the court.