Farris vs. Farris, 285 Ga. 331, 676 S.E.2d 212 (2009).
The parties were divorced and as part of the equitable division of their property, they were ordered to sell the former marital residence. For the first six (6) months, the ex-Wife was in charge of its sale which had to be no less than $650,000.00. Prior to the filing of their final judgment and decree, the ex-husband offers to pay $325,000.00 to the ex-wife for the marital residence; she declines his offer. The ex-husband files a contempt action against the ex-wife, and after a hearing, the ex-wife is held in contempt for not accepting the ex-husband’s offer.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of Georgia revered the trial court’s ruling that the ex-wife was in contempt. Before a person may be held in contempt for violating a court order, the order must inform him, in definite terms, as to the duties imposed upon him; the command must be express, not implied. As such, the ex-wife could not have been held in contempt for an event that occurred prior to the filing of the divorce decree. Furthermore, irrespectively, the Court ruled that the ex-wife did not violate the divorce decree be refusing the ex-husband’s offer; she was not required to accept the first offer that she received as she solely controlled the sale of the marital residence for the first six (6) months.