Posted by Attorney Bruce Watson –
Have you been suddenly charged with contempt in Massachusetts for not paying your child support that was ordered by the court after you and your spouse divorced? Perhaps it’s in reverse and you’re filing for contempt against your spouse for not doing what was required with a court order. Either way, it’s a contentious form of family law that you never want to go through if you can amicably work it out. But in both scenarios, you have to work with a Massachusetts family law attorney to go through the proper steps to assure the contempt charge gets ironed out in the best possible way.
If you’re the one receiving a contempt charge from your spouse for reneging on a court order in child support payments, you’re going to need to respond to the summons immediately. The summons is basically a question of why you haven’t obeyed the previous court order on child support payments. You have to send that summons back with a logical answer before the required deadline.
Placing Your Explanation on the Summons
You have to file an answer to the court when sending the summons back, and the reasons for the initial contempt charge will already be written on the document. State clearly why you didn’t obey the court order, no matter what the circumstances were. Being honest is going to help you, though writing your reasons with the aid of an experienced family law attorney is prudent. In many cases, how you word the explanation will make all the difference on whether the contempt charge sticks or not. An attorney will know how to word it just right so it’s not misinterpreted.
Once you have submitted your response, your lawyer will send the summons back to the court before the due date. They’ll also send a copy to your spouse and their lawyer so they have your explanation in writing.
Attending the Court Hearing
You’re going to possibly face an angry judge when attending the court hearing on the allotted date. In that regard, having your attorney there with you is going to be essential to mitigate the situation.
The consequences of disobeying a court order can sometimes mean you having to pay your spouse’s legal costs if the judge thinks you were truly negligent. Your spouse may additionally be given the rights to your child for the extra days you didn’t previously allow.
While no jail time will be involved, paying the legal costs of your spouse can get quite expensive. It’s one reason why you should consult with your attorney from the beginning to work out a new visitation order if you think something needs to be changed. When you wait for a contempt charge, you only make things worse, and it quickly becomes a situation you can’t control.
No matter the case, in any contempt charge, you need to find an experienced family law attorney to negotiate the best possible outcome. Contact us directly if you’re involved in family law matter involving contempt charges.