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Boston Contempt of Court Lawyer

DiBella Law Offices, P.C. - Serving Clients in Massachusetts with 4 Locations

Once your divorce is finalized, both parties in the divorce are required to follow all of the court’s orders. These orders can include child custody, child support, spousal support, and transfer of assets or property as instructed by the court. If either party fails to follow the instructions outlined by the court, then he or she is considered to be in contempt of court. The penalty for contempt of court can be a fine, jail time, and/or the loss of your driver’s license or passport.

At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we understand that your divorce can be the cause of a great deal of stress and frustration. It can also create some financial issues as you begin a new life with a single income. All of these factors can compound the challenges of meeting all of the stipulations that are part of your divorce settlement. We are here to assist you if you need us to file a motion of contempt on your behalf, or if you are facing the charge of contempt yourself. Call (617) 870-0907 today to schedule a free consultation at our Boston law office with one of our experienced attorneys.

Common Examples of Contempt of Court

In general, contempt of court is failing to follow any court order regarding your divorce agreement. Some of the most common examples of contempt where divorce is concerned include:

  • Refusal to pay court-ordered alimony or the specified amount of alimony
  • Failure to pay court-ordered child support or the specified amount of child support
  • Refusal to vacate the family home when ordered to do so
  • Violating a court order of protection from abuse or harassment
  • Violating the terms of court-ordered visitation or custody
  • Unapproved removal of a child or children from Massachusetts

Steps to Take When Your Ex-Spouse Is in Contempt of Court

If your spouse is not complying with all the requirements of your divorce agreement, there is a basic process that should be followed to correct the issue.

  1. It is always best if you and your ex-spouse can work together to solve any issues rather than involving the court. Contact him or her to determine if there is a valid reason for the non-compliance. Sometimes the cause is an illness, accident, or even the loss of income. If at all possible, it is always better for both of you and for any children involved to work out some type of arrangement between yourselves.
  2. If the reason for non-compliance is that your ex-spouse is refusing to meet his or her responsibilities, then you need to contact your attorney to complete a complaint of contempt which summarizes the facts of the order which is being broken.
  3. The judge who accepts the complaint will schedule a hearing regarding the complaint and follow it up with a trial if your ex-spouse still refuses to comply.

If You Are Accused of Contempt of Court

If you are accused of contempt of court, you need to complete the following steps to ensure that you do not face fines or even jail time.

  1. When you receive the complaint, complete the answer section with your side of the story. If the complaint is false, you will need to show that you did comply with all the court’s orders. Be very specific about the issue which your ex-spouse feels you failed to follow. This could be showing a copy of a check written for support, or documents showing the sale of property or distribution of a shared asset. Mail a copy back to the court as well as to your spouse and lawyer. If you did fail to comply with any order, list your reason for doing so.
  2. Attend the court hearing, and be as respectful and polite as possible when relating your side of the story. Bring any documents or witnesses who can support your side of the story, and add or confirm any details of your explanation.

Any respectable attorney will advise you to never be in contempt of court, if at all possible. If you have financial issues, request a modification to your agreement. Your attorney will be able to advise you on how to handle specific issues that you might encounter regarding contempt of court and how to properly handle any issue that you have with the orders and terms of your divorce agreement. Call (617) 870-0907 to schedule a free consultation with a DiBella Law Offices, P.C. Boston family law lawyer who can help you avoid the fines and even jail time that can result from being in contempt of court.