Once a Massachusetts court enters an order or judgment in family law case, the parties must obey its provisions unless and until they are modified by the court. If one of the parties does not, either by not doing something that the party is supposed to do or by doing something that the party is not supposed to do, the question of what action to take arises. If the act or failure to act is causing a significant or on-going problem, then bringing a contempt case should be considered.
If a contempt case is filed, the court will consider the following:
- What was ordered? It is clear and unambiguous? If it is not, then a modification case seeking to clarify the order, not one for contempt, might be more appropriate and looked upon more favorably by the court.
- How is that order being violated? Please bear in mind that the court is very busy and cannot get bogged down with what might reasonably be considered minor or one-time infractions.