Going through a divorce or separation with young children can be challenging, especially if your relationship requires a court-ordered custody or support agreement. Being able to make important decisions together and be cordial with your children’s other parent is great, but these kinds of situations are rarely ideal, which is why the court is there to ensure that you keep the best interests of your children at the forefront of any disagreement. 

There are times when child support order decisions may not be what the other parent had in mind. If you are in this situation and the other parent is not upholding the previous arrangements, you can file to hold them in contempt of court. 

Contempt of court in Massachusetts 

Filing a Complaint for Contempt case is a fairly straightforward process that your attorney can assist you with: 

  • Fill out the forms provided by the state of Massachusetts. 
  • File them with the same court that issued your child support order. 
  • Receive the Contempt Summons from the court clerk. 
  • Serve a copy of the papers to a sheriff so she or he can serve them to the other parent. 
  • Take the original paperwork back to the court clerk, and then take the signed summons once you receive them back from the sheriff; this is a “return of service.” 
  • Sometimes, the court will require a new financial statement from you, which you would bring to the scheduled hearing. 

Court hearing 

The judge will ask you to prove that the other parent violated your court order. If you can, the judge decides what to do to ensure the order is upheld for the sake of the children. When necessary, the judge may send the other parent to jail temporarily. If the issue involves new financial difficulties, the judge may request a change in the court order to better accommodate you and the other parent.