When a divorce is finalized, a divorce decree outlines essential information about the court’s decision including court-ordered support. A divorce decree is an enforceable order by the court that both parties are legally mandated to follow.
Items outlined can include payment of child support or spousal support, a transfer of property, or specific visitation schedules. Unfortunately, too often, parties neglect or elect to ignore the outlined orders. This can greatly harm the spouse, who is dependent on support. While the penalties to the offending party for these transgressions can be severe, the spouse being affected is required to file a claim to make the court aware of the transgression.
A contempt of court charge can be filed against a transgressor in violation of a court order if certain conditions are met. These conditions include:
- a valid order from the court
- awareness of the outlined order by both parties
- evidence of the transgressor knowingly violating a court order
Penalties will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, common penalties include the payment of fines, legal fees, and even jail time.
If you feel your ex-spouse is in violation of a court order, you need an attorney who understands Massachusetts Family and Divorce law. Some individuals attempt to resolve issues directly with their former spouse. However, any agreement made cannot be enforced by the courts.
If you have questions and would like to speak with a reputable Massachusetts family law attorney, please contact our office.