Main Navigation

Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri
781-489-3759 Weekend & Evening Appointments Available

What is contempt, and how does it work in a family law matter?

If you've gone through a divorce with input from a Massachusetts family law judge, you undoubtedly appreciate the powers wielded by a court and understand why issued rulings are expected to be complied with.

Courts are austere bodies, with judges clearly being cloaked in authority.

Put another way: Any individual who is party to a family law arrangement and thereafter materially violates the specifics of a court order approving it can expect to quickly interact with an irritated judge.

And that can bring unpleasant consequences resulting from a judicial finding of contempt. As we note on our website at the Wellesley Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri, P.C., that is "the willful violation of a court order, and individuals who disregard court orders can face punishment."

Contempt can potentially arise with a variety of family law (usually divorce-related) matters, but is most often connected with child custody concerns and/or alleged shortcomings concerning support payments.

Contempt is a heavy judicial hammer, and we note that, "because [it] is severe, it may not be the appropriate remedy in every situation."

Its mere threat, though, can often prompt speedy and complete compliance from an otherwise uncooperative ex-spouse or partner, given that the alternative to full performance can be fines and, even in some instances, jail time.

Simply alleging contempt will not move a Massachusetts court to act. It is therefore key for any individual with serious family law-related concerns to work with proven legal counsel in confirming an existing court order and showing that the other party has notice of it and is willfully violating it.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.