When the Massachusetts court enters an order, all parties named in the order are required to comply with its terms. Your divorce settlement likely included a few orders, such as a parenting plan, a property division order, a child support order, and a spousal maintenance order. Willfully refusing to comply with one or more of these orders is an act of contempt of court. It is important to note that in order for an action to be contempt of court, the offender must willfully, knowingly violate his or her court order. Failure to comply with a court order for reasons beyond the individual's control is not contempt of court.
Once the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has issued an Order whether Temporary or Final in a case, the parties to the action are bound by its terms. If either party violates the terms of a Family Court Order, they risk being found in contempt of court.
The hope is that when parents don't live together, they both understand it is their obligation, both legally and morally, to step up and care for their children. Part of doing so means that both of them should take some financial responsibility for the children, often in the form of child support. Though we might hope that all parents would willingly contribute, the reality is that some may not. So what happens when someone does not pay child support in Massachusetts? What are the consequences?