Whether you're newly divorced or well-versed in co-parenting, you recognize the importance of sticking to your parenting plan agreement.
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.
The unequivocal answer is "no." Under Massachusetts law, child support and parenting time are separate matters and a parent's failure to pay child support is not a legal justification to deny or suspend visitation.
The discipline of children is a frequent source of post-divorce litigation in Massachusetts. When divorced parents have different opinions about how to manage their children's behavior, they often go to court expecting the court to approve one approach and forbid the other.
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.