It doesn’t happen everyday but it does happen that divorce judges sanction divorcing parties or their attorney’s in a divorce action. It usually is in response to some type of outrageous and/or repeatedly offensive behavior. The judge usually gives warnings before sanctions are imposed so there is some type of repetitious behavior that would lead to sanctions.
Yes, it is usually a financial penalty but the decision can usually be appealed and is sometimes overturned by the appellate court.
Can the judge throw you in jail? Yes if you ignore the sanction and then are found to be in contempt of court.
In Civil Law, a sanction is that part of a law that assigns a penalty for violation of the law’s provisions. The most common civil sanction is a monetary fine, but other types of sanctions exist. Depending on the case, a sanction may be the suspension or revocation of a business, professional, or hobby license, or a court order commanding a person to do or refrain from doing something. A sanction may even be tailored to the case at hand. For instance, under rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if a party refuses to obey a discovery order, or an order to relinquish requested evidence, the court may order that the evidence sought be automatically construed in favor of the requesting party, refuse to allow the disobedient party to make claims or defenses related to the evidence, stay or postpone the case until the discovery order is obeyed, dismiss the action or render judgment for the requesting party, declare the disobedient party in Contempt of court, or make any other order that is just under the circumstances.
With that stated, in divorce, sanctions are usually the monetary kind. That is, sanctions are usually monetary amounts you have to pay to the court or to your spouse. Or to your spouse’s attorney.
What types of behaviors could lead to sanctions? Hiding assets, being overly adversarial and contentious, filing a lot of frivolous motions, delaying the proceedings unreasonably, filing misleading applications, etc.