When the family court in MA has issued a Final or Temporary Order, both parties are legally bound to abide by its terms. If you or the other party violates the terms of the Order, it could result in contempt of court. Typical contempt actions in divorce cases involve situations such as failure to pay alimony and/or child support, denial of parenting time, or failure to pay the mortgage.
At Davis Law Group, Jay Davis can help you in any situation that you may be facing concerning your Massachusetts divorce. Jay will adopt a proactive approach to ensuring compliance of the other party with the Family Court Order. He will also work to protect your rights if the other party has filed a complaint against you with regard to an order violation. Call us at 617-221-3548 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Complaint for Contempt
If the other party has violated the Family Court Order, you should consider filing a Complaint for Contempt. It’s crucial to recognize that if you let the violations go unchecked it could encourage the other party to continue or increase the misconduct.
For instance, if your former spouse is denying you parenting time wrongfully, or they are failing to make the stipulated support payments, chances are that they will carry on with that behavior unless you take a firm action against it.
You should have proof of the specific violations that the other party has committed in order to succeed in a contempt action. Jay Davis can help you obtain clear and strong evidence that will maximize your chances of success in the court.
Willful Contempt of Court
The Probate and Family Court in MA will also consider whether the contempt (after it has been proved) was willful or not. This determination will make a difference to the final decision of the Judge in this case. Willful contempt is said to occur when a party has intentionally violated the Order. In other words, the party had the ability to follow the Order, but failed to do so.
But if the court determines that the party was in contempt because of circumstances beyond their control, it may decide that the contempt was not willful. In this situation, the court may only ask for remedial steps to be taken so that the Order is complied with in the future. Punishment or penalty may not be imposed against the offender if it is found that the contempt was not willful.
In the event of a willful contempt of court, severe penalties may be imposed on the offender. Family Courts in Massachusetts do not have any specific “sentencing guidelines” and the penalties for contempt can vary from case to case. Penalties may include imprisonment, fines, and reimbursement of costs related to the case.
Your best recourse if you are facing a divorce order related contempt action would be to speak to Jay Davis at Davis Law Group in MA. Jay will provide you the right advice and suggest the most effective legal strategy to protect your interests. Call us at 617-221-3548 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Legal Consequences of Child Custody/Visitation Order Violation
The court in MA will approve the child custody and visitation agreement, which will then become legally enforceable. Any violation of child custody or visitation order could have serious legal consequences because the Order was legally enforceable. Examples of these types of violations include:
- Denying the custody or visitation rights to the co-parent
- Taking the child out of the state without prior approval
- Taking the child on an extended trip without prior approval
- Failure to inform the co-parent about the whereabouts of the child
- Keeping the child for a longer duration than what the custody or visitation order provides for
- Placing the child in the care of an unauthorized person
Willful violation of child custody and/or visitation order can lead to criminal penalties, including jail time and fines. In some cases, this type of violation may also result in the loss of parental rights. If the parent who was in violation is a custodial parent, they could have their custody reduced or entirely lose their custody rights. A non-custodial parent in violation may lose some or all of their visitation rights.
Consult with a Dedicated Family Law Attorney in Massachusetts
Disputes related to child custody, visitation, or other court orders in a divorce can be legal consequences for either parent. Your child would unfortunately get into a situation that is not ideal for him or her. Davis Law Group, led by the experienced divorce lawyer Jay Davis, is best equipped to guide you and provide you effective legal representation in these cases. Call us at 617-221-3548 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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