In affirming the denial of mother’s motion to hold father in civil and criminal contempt for failing to exercise his right to visitation, the Second Department explained the elements of each:
To find a party in civil contempt pursuant to Judiciary Law § 753, the applicant must demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, ” (1) that a lawful order of the court, clearly expressing an unequivocal mandate, was in effect, (2) that the order was disobeyed and the party disobeying the order had knowledge of its terms, and (3) that the movant was prejudiced by the offending conduct'” (…see Judiciary Law § 753[A]). To satisfy the prejudice element, it is sufficient to allege and prove that the contemnor’s actions were calculated to or actually did defeat, impair, impede, or prejudice the rights or remedies of a party … .
In a criminal contempt proceeding, proof of guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt … . “The purpose of criminal contempt (see Judiciary Law § 750) is to vindicate the authority of the court. No showing of prejudice to the rights of a party to the litigation is needed since the right of the private parties to the litigation is not the controlling factor'” … . “However, [a]n essential element of criminal contempt is willful disobedience. Knowingly failing to comply with a court order gives rise to an inference of willfulness which may [*2]be rebutted with evidence of good cause for noncompliance'” … . Matter of Figueroa-Rolon v Torres, 2014 NY Slip Op 06584, 2nd Dept 10-1-14