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What is Contempt of Court After a Massachusetts Divorce?

by Renee Lazar on Apr. 13, 2018

Divorce & Family Law Divorce & Family Law  Child Support Divorce & Family Law  Divorce 

Summary: Penalties for refusing to comply with a court order include fines, wage garnishment, the suspension of your driver's license and jail time.

Court contempt.jpg

When the Massachusetts court enters an order, all parties named in the order are required to comply with its terms. Your divorce settlement likely included a few orders, such as a parenting plan, a property division order, a child support order, and a spousal maintenance order. Willfully refusing to comply with one or more of these orders is an act of contempt of court. It is important to note that in order for an action to be contempt of court, the offender must willfully, knowingly violate his or her court order. Failure to comply with a court order for reasons beyond the individual's control is not contempt of court.

Any refusal to comply with a court order is contempt of court. Following a divorce, the following actions may be deemed contempt of court. Penalties for refusing to comply with a court order include fines, wage garnishment, the suspension of your driver's license and jail time.

Failing to Make Required Payments

If you are required to pay child support or spousal maintenance, you must pay the amount that your order requires you to pay when you are required to pay it. If you feel your former partner or your child's lifestyle has changed to the point that your original support amount is no longer accurate, discuss the possibility of having your order modified with an experienced lawyer. This is also what you should do if you can no longer afford to make your required payments.

Failure to Comply with Your Parenting Plan

Just like you are required to comply with the terms of your child support or spousal maintenance order, you are required to comply with the terms of your parenting plan. This means that when it is your former partner's time to have your child, you must make your best effort to bring your child to your former partner and avoid interfering with their time together.

You are also required to comply with the parental responsibilities portion of your parenting plan. If your plan states that your child is not to have contact with certain family members, you must obey the plan.

Failure to Comply with Your Property Division Order

Your property division order might require you to pay off one of your shared credit cards or that your former spouse takes possession of certain assets. Refusing to make payments toward that credit card or destroying property so your former partner cannot take it are both acts of contempt of court.

Work with an Experienced Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer

If you are accused of committing contempt of court after your Massachusetts divorce, work with an experienced Middlesex divorce lawyer to fight the charge and show the court that you actually are in compliance with your divorce orders or that you had a legitimate reason to deviate from the order's requirements. Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar. today to set up your FREE one hour no obligation consultation with us, during which we will discuss your case further and determine an appropriate way to proceed. Call 978-844-4095 or contact us through our website: for help today.

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