Once you’ve completed the process of going through a divorce, settling on child support, and agreeing to a parenting schedule, you’d think you can finally move forward and start your new life. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
When you’re facing the frustrating reality that your ex simply won’t comply with your legally binding agreements, whether that be alimony payments or a parenting schedule, you have options. Massachusetts residents can file a complaint for contempt to address non-compliance with temporary orders and final judgments.
Understanding the ins and out of contempt proceedings is an essential part of litigation in the Probate and Family Court, which is why working with an attorney is vital. Anyone found violating a court order, such as failing to pay child support, denying visitation, etc., may be considered to be in contempt of court.
The court can enforce a defendant to comply with the order(s) in violation by filing a contempt order. To begin the process, a Complaint for Contempt must be filed through the Probate and Family Court that issued the order being violated. Next, a court clerk provides a Contempt Summons—a court order that instructs the defendant when they are expected in court. A deputy sheriff or constable will then serve the defendant with the original summons.
The burden of proof in contempt actions falls to the plaintiff. For help understanding your options when your ex, or soon to be ex, fails to comply with a court order, contact our law office today.