Contempt or Small Claim?

Contempt or Small Claim??
My final judgment in 2001 awarded a vehicle to each of us and to hold harmless the other from debt related to the vehicle (both cars were in both our names). Unknown to me, at the time my ex signed, she was already 4+ payments behind on her car and it was repo’d a few months later. I contacted her and asked her to pay the debt but she refused. Subsequently, my credit is terribly tarnished and I have received a horrible interest rate on a car purchase. Recently during a home purchase I was forced to pay off the remaining balance on this/her vehicle debt and related repo fees in order to proceed with my financing. I want the money back (~$2,000).
I contacted my attorney about representing on this matter as contempt (she failed to maintain the payments and to hold me harmless)-he advised me that I could file a ”motion for entry of judgment” on my own and save attorney costs, therefore get more money back.
My question is: Would this be done in Family Court as a contempt to the current order? Would my current attorney need to withdraw if I appear on my own for this motion? Is/can this be treated as seperate matter from Family Court and be heard in Civil Court as a small claim for breach of contract? My ex will have her attorney.

2 thoughts on “Contempt or Small Claim?

  1. Re: Contempt or Small Claim??
    I would never advise a person to go to Court pro se with the other side having an attorney. I do believe Family Court is proper because that Court knows the history of the case. Of course, as a small claims matter you would go to mediation and maybe the mediator might see things your way.
    Your current attorney would not need to withdraw, but the judge is going to ask you about the lack of an attorney with you and whether you wish to proceed without an attorney. I’d think twice before I did.

    Robert Simpson
    4565 S.E. 57th Lane
    Ocala, FL 34480

  2. Re: Contempt or Small Claim??
    It’s actually a small claims matter, not a family court matter, but I’ve had a lot of success filing these as contempt in family court, so you might want to try both. As a general rule, the Family Court only has contempt jurisdiction for child support and alimony matters, so your case is more proper in small claims.

    You can use the same lawyer, if you want, but it’s usually a bad idea to go to court on your own.

    Brent Rose
    The Orsini & Rose Law Firm
    410 Ware Boulevard, Suite 401
    Tampa (and Throughout Florida), FL 33619

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