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What does it mean to be “held in contempt” by the court?

Contempt is a tool used by Probate and Family Courts to enforce parties to comply with court orders. This gives the court power to enforce judgments provided during divorce and custody proceedings.

Someone who violates or disobeys a court order risks being held in contempt by the court. This includes failing to pay alimony or child support or refusal to comply with a parenting schedule ordered by the court.

There are two types of contempt, civil and criminal. The purpose of civil contempt is to act as a  remedial step in enforcing compliance with a court order.

In the event one party is not following a court-appointed order, the other party can file a Complaint for Contempt. This process requires the initiating party to provide a valid court order, show the defendant has knowledge of the order, and provide evidence that the defendant is willfully disobeying the order.

A criminal contempt, on the other hand, is a tool to punish the defiant party. Someone found guilty of criminal contempt may face jail time.

Either party can file a complaint for contempt to address non-compliance with any order, including temporary orders and final judgments.

Whether you wish to file a Complaint for Contempt or have been served with notice of a hearing, our office can assist you in court. Contact us today to discuss your legal rights.

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