Our clients have asked, “If a court order is ignored, what happens?” We have that information for you today so you can handle the situation accordingly
Court orders should always be taken seriously. However, the question often comes up: “If a court order is ignored, what happens?” We share below what happens in family law when court order violations takes place.
If you need to speak with a family law attorney now because of a court order violation or any other family law issue, please reach out to our experienced staff to discuss the specifics of your case during a free consultation: 508-762-1397. The law offices of Murphy & Rudolf, LLP handle a variety of family law cases in the Springfield and Worcester areas of Massachusetts.
Understanding penalties associated with court order violations
Some of the most common court order violations involve child custody or child support, visitation, or alimony. When this type of violation is proven to be “willful”, then the guilty party can be required to pay attorney fees and costs of filing a complaint, and may even face jail time. However, there are many nuances associated with contempt of court actions.
Family law attorneys are typically trying to show “willful” or “not willful” contempt, depending on if they are defending or representing a client. An example of willful contempt is when a person intentionally decides to violate the court order. For instance, if an ex-partner decided purposely to not pay child support because they did not agree with the court’s ruling. Or if the ex-partner paid an insufficient amount of child support because they disagreed with the amount set forth by the court.
Conversely, the ruling, “not willful contempt of court” can be issued if the judge determines that the contempt was unavoidable. Circumstances beyond the control of the defendant must be proven to earn this outcome. When a court order violation is found to be “not willful”, then the defendant is expected to remedy the situation. No severe punishment or penalty is handed out when the compliance of a court order is deemed to be not willful and measures are taken to ensure the violation is remedied.
One of the reasons to hire a family law attorney to defend your rights in a contempt of court case is the uncertainty of the judge’s ruling. There are no set guidelines for sentencing in court order violation cases. One judge may rule differently than another judge, and punishments can vary from case to case.
The family law attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP can help with your case in the areas of Worcester and Springfield, MA
Our experienced lawyers can help if you or a loved one is embattled in a family law case. A family lawyer from our firm will be able to guide your way while keeping your best interest in mind. A family lawyer is especially helpful when emotions run high and the stress is difficult to deal with.