Mother's actions support contempt finding

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld finding a mother in contempt of court for not dismissing a protective order against her ex-husband as required by their dissolution decree. The judges also affirmed the award of compensatory damages and attorney fees to the father, but reversed a 10-day sentence imposed for future violations.

In Barbara (Rosario) Bessolo v. William I. Rosario, No. 29A02-1108-DR-789, Barbara Bessolo and William Rosario, who have a young daughter, divorced Dec. 1, 2010. As part of their mediated settlement agreement, Bessolo was to dismiss a protective order she had against Rosario by Nov. 12, although the terms of the agreement weren’t binding until it was approved by the court. Even after the decree was approved in December, Bessolo didn’t dismiss the protective order.

An incident on Dec. 5, 2010, led to Bessolo calling the police on Rosario and telling officers she had a protective order against him. Rosario was arrested, spent 20 hours in jail and had to pay $2,500 to expunge the arrest from his record. She filed for the protective order to be dismissed two days later.

Rosario then filed a motion to show cause requesting Bessolo be held in contempt for her actions. The trial court ordered Bessolo to pay $10,000 in compensatory damages, $10,000 in attorney fees, and imposed the suspended jail sentence. She appealed, but the COA affirmed.

Although the divorce wasn’t approved until Dec. 1, instead of Nov. 12 as the agreement originally stated, Bessolo still had to file to dismiss the protective order once the settlement was approved, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik. The judges upheld the monetary damages and attorney fees imposed, finding the experience was a humiliating one for Rosario. He was handcuffed in front of his young daughter in a public parking lot and had to miss a day of work. The COA reversed the imposition of the suspended jail sentence because it does not coerce current or future compliance with a specific court order. The judges also denied Rosario’s request for appellate attorney fees.  



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon