Evans v. Evans (Nebraska 2021)
A parent must willfully fail to pay support in order to be found in civil contempt. The County Attorney brought a contempt action against the father for failure to pay support. The district court heard evidence of the father’s assets, including a home and his business. The father argued he was injured and couldn’t work. The district court found the father in contempt for failure to pay support, set a purge payment schedule, and ordered him incarcerated if he didn’t comply with the payment schedule. The father appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the contempt finding. The appellate court found his credibility questionable. The initial support order had been modified down due to a work injury. However, he offered no evidence as to that injury or an ongoing inability to work. Evidence showed he had a business and was working in spite of his injury. The father argued he couldn’t make the payment required to purge himself of contempt. The appellate court relief on the evidence of his assets and lack of evidence as to his inability to work to find the purge schedule appropriate.