(b) If trial is had under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section and the court elects to treat a finding of criminal contempt as a civil contempt and the matter is not tried before a jury and the court finds the defendant in contempt for willfully failing to comply with an order of the court made pursuant to the provisions of article three, four, five, eight, nine, eleven, twelve, fourteen or fifteen of this chapter, and if the court further finds the person has the ability to purge himself of contempt, the court shall afford the contemnor a reasonable time and method whereby he may purge himself of contempt. If the contemnor fails or refuses to purge himself of contempt, the court may confine the contemnor to the county jail for an indeterminate period not to exceed six months or until such time as the contemnor has purged himself, whichever shall first occur. If the petition alleges civil contempt, the matter shall be heard by the family court. The family court has the same power and authority as the circuit court under the provisions of this section for criminal contempt proceedings which the circuit court elects to treat as civil contempt.
(c) In the case of a charge of contempt based upon the failure of the defendant to pay alimony, child support or separate maintenance, if the court or jury finds that the defendant did not pay because he was financially unable to pay, the defendant may not be imprisoned on charges of contempt of court.
(d) Regardless of whether the court or jury finds the defendant to be in contempt, if the court shall find that a party is in arrears in the payment of alimony, child support or separate maintenance ordered to be paid under the provisions of this chapter, the court shall enter judgment for such arrearage and award interest on such arrearage from the due date of each unpaid installment. Following any hearing wherein the court finds that a party is in arrears in the payment of alimony, child support or separate maintenance, the court may, if sufficient assets exist, require security to ensure the timely payment of future installments.
(e) At any time during a contempt proceeding the court may enter an order to attach forthwith the body of, and take into custody, any person who refuses or fails to respond to the lawful process of the court or to comply with an order of the court. Such order of attachment shall require the person to be brought forthwith before the court or the judge thereof in any county in which the court may then be sitting.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.