Ignoring court-ordered anger management - what happens?

Someone I know (not me, honest) was told by a court to go to anger management class. He has not gone. What’s likely to happen?

Backstory: Man and wife argue, man physically attacks wife, she calls police. He is taken into custody and released but not to go to the marital home. At a hearing both are told by the court to undergo anger management therapy of some sort. Neither has done so. A follow up hearing is today. She was not charged with anything, but was told to have the therapy anyway. They are now living separately.

IANAL, but it seems to me if a judge tells you to do something and you don’t, said judge will get mightily miffed.

Were they just told to attend some sort of anger management therapy, or were they required to attend a specific kind of anger management therapy? E.g. if they attend therapy in a virtual reality environment administered by a clinical psychologist in Madagascar, are they in violation for not attending an anger management therapy program recognized by the court (e.g. through its accreditation, etc.), or is it ok as long as the therapy is effective? E.g. “I can see your anger levels are down, that therapy, wherever you got it, must have been effective, you are free to go!”

Unfortunately I don’t know all the details of what was ordered. I have only spoken with the wife about this. She just said they were both told to do this. It didn’t sound like they were given information about any specific options available but were supposed to find something on their own. Her position is that he was the one arrested (she had visible marks and bruises) so why should she have to do anything, and besides, he has not arranged anything so she’s not doing it either.

If it were me I would have complied regardless, but I wasn’t there and don’t know the exact circumstances. I am concerned mostly because there are small children in the family, including a special needs child, and I’d hate to see the parents incarcerated.

Not to derail but I always wondered how any court could, with a straight face, tell someone to go to anger-management and expect their anger to improve. It’s the legal equivalent of giving a snobby “Calm down” to someone who is already pissed off. Telling someone to go to anger-management sounds like a twisted torture method, a way of “I’m going to pretend I want you to be less angry, while knowing that this will make you madder.”
Suppose your spouse or ex or someone is screaming angrily at you. What do you think would happen if you said, “You need to get anger management classes?” For some couples, maybe time to dodge a flying knife.

IANAL, but usually the penalty for not complying with court instructions is contempt of court. Hope your friend likes fines and/or jail time.

Yeah, fines I’m not afraid of for them, but jail time could impact employment and the well-being of the little kids. They’re traumatized enough with Dad being out of the house. He’s been living at his parents’ and having the children there 2 or 3 days a week. I don’t know who’s caring for them today.

Presumably they both have attorneys, and presumably they both were given clear instructions from the court. If they don’t have a really good excuse for not going I would expect the judge to offer an incentive to get them to act, for example if you don’t attend a session in the next two weeks be prepared to go to jail for a few days and see if that changes their mind. Their attorneys should be advising them of the consequences of non-compliance.

It’s a joke. The court orders you to see an “anger counselor”, who you then get the privilege of paying once a week to go over that week’s lesson in your “workbook” (each “week” has a theme).

If you wanted a faster expedition thru the system, you simply paid for it. Wanna knock out two lessons in one session? Just double that $25 to $50 and get a whole new credit hour. Basically, if you wanted to get the bullshit over with ASAP, just give him $300 (cash only!) and you’ve successfully completed your 12-week anger management course. Yay! :mortar_board:!

The “lessons” are about as dumbed-down and rudimentary as one might suspect, given the particular scenario. “Take time out and count to 10.”, “An angry mind is a closed mind”, etc. It was all a joke; I knew it, the counselor knew it and only an idiot would think the court didn’t know it as well. It was just about the appearance of action for the court and a way for a guy with an associates degree to make a decent living.

Or so I’ve been led to believe. :smiley:

AFAIK neither has a lawyer now. I’m sure they will advise the judge that their work and child care responsibilities prevented them from doing a class or whatever.

The obvious answer is “because the judge ordered you to, and regardless of anything else, if you don’t follow his instructions, he may provide consequences.”

Is she under the impression that there’s strength in numbers when it comes to contempt of court? :confused:

Maybe the kids could use a little vacation like that, so that they can see that there are other people in the world who aren’t as stubborn and short-sighted as their parents.

If she was the victim and not charged with a crime, why was she even in court?

Generally I’ve seen counseling (either anger management or some other sort) offered as part of a conditional discharge of a sentence. For instance plead guilty to the assault and be sentenced to a month in jail but if you go to counseling and stay clean for 6 months your sentence gets wiped out. Failure to comply means the orginal sentence is carried out.

It may have been a family court hearing with regards to a no contact order. Both parties need to be present for that.

If Daddy hit Mommy, then his being out of the house is not the cause of the trauma.

Presumably she was present as the victim.

Machine Elf, I agree on your first response; she should do what the judge said because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

On your third point, the children have grandparents, aunts and uncles who provide fine role models. They are already stressed that Daddy is not there any more. Despite their problems with each other, both parents are good with the children and are in no way abusive of them. A move to another home if both parents were incarcerated would be IMHO devastating. The oldest is in school; moving her to another school district would cause all kinds of problems. I just hope for their sake that the judge does not do something as drastic has incarcerate the mom and put them in a foster home with strangers.

True enough, but there is genuine love between parents and children, and the whole situation is traumatic. Unfortunately, all the children were present during the fight that turned from verbal to physical.

Not my jurisdiction, don’t know the facts but my not quite uneducated guess is that court ordered or sanctioned therapy is in lieu of something else. Failure to comply may mean that charges are reinstated, fines may have to be paid, a criminal conviction may be recorded or even jail time.

On review, basically what Loach said in #13.


“Fuck you.”


“You’re goddamned right I am.”


<sigh> “Yeah.”


“Uh… no?”


Thanks. I (thankfully) have no experience with family court.