If you are collecting a debt, you can use a Petition for a Rule to Show Cause to ask the court to have the person who owes you money come in and tell why the payments are not being made. If they do not have a good reason, the judge can hold them in contempt of court.
Note: During the original court case, you were the plaintiff, and the person who owed you money was the defendant. For the petition, you are called the petitioner, and the other person is called the respondent.
You must mail a copy of the petition to the respondent. That petition should have a copy of the payment order attached to it. The petition should say how the respondent did not obey that order. It will also have a hearing date.
At the hearing, the respondent gets a chance to explain why they did not pay. If the respondent lost their job or had their pay cut, the judge might cancel or change the Payment Order. If the judge decides a respondent did not pay on purpose, they can hold the respondent in contempt of court. This can include penalties, like fines, or even jail time for more serious cases.
The judge will issue a Rule to Show Cause if the respondent does not come to court on the date of the petition hearing. The clerk will give you a date when the Rule to Show Cause hearing will occur. Complete the form and have it served on the respondent.
The form can be served by one of the following:
- The sheriff, or
- A licensed private detective.
You must come to court on the court date given to you by the court clerk. If the respondent is served again but does not come to court, the judge may issue a warrant to arrest the defendant. This warrant is called a body attachment.
You must pay a fee to have the respondent arrested by the sheriff. If the respondent appears, the judge will question them.
Updated: March 2018