Can I be jailed for contempt of court over a wedding ring that was sold before the divorce papers were presented to me?

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Can I be jailed for contempt of court over a wedding ring that was sold before the divorce papers were presented to me?

My ex-wife is threatening to file contempt charges against me over a wedding ring that was awarded to her in the divorce decree. However, I disposed of the ring along with my own ring in a fit of emotion before the divorce papers were presented to me. Therefore, I am not willfully or deliberately withholding the property; I just don’t have it anymore. The main reason for my action at the time was because she gave my Bull Terrier to one of her friends without informing me and then she and my kids went missing for two weeks. So really it was her act that provoked my act. What can I do? Can I be jailed?

Asked on April 2, 2012 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She can file a petition for contempt for selling her property.  You will need to show when the rings were sold and to whom.  At the same time, the court will already know from the records when you were served.  If you didn't know about the divorce, you might not be held in contempt.

However, in the property division before the court, you might not be awarded a 50/50 split.  The value of the rings may be taken out of your expected share. 

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the thing: you should have said something during the divorce proceeding or negotiations.  Now it looks as if you dissipated marital assets here.  Not a good thing.  And if it violates the court order then yes, you can be held in contempt.  You need to seek legal help asap.  Good luck.


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