Modifications & Contempt
Complaint for Modification is the action by which you can request that the Court make a change to the past Court Judgments. A Complaint for Modification is the beginning of a new action and should only be used to change permanent orders which are called Judgments.
To succeed on a Complaint for Modification you must prove two things: first you must typically prove that there has been a “significant material change in circumstances;” and second you must prove that the change in circumstances warrants a change in the Order.
A complaint for contempt addresses non-compliance with any order, including temporary orders and final judgments.
The Plaintiff initiating the Complaint for Contempt must show the following:
- There is a valid prior judgment or order;
- The defendant has knowledge of the judgment or order; and
- The defendant willfully disobeyed the judgment or order.
In a civil contempt, the burden of proof is on the Defendant to show that he/she is unable to comply with the order.
- A Guardian Ad Litem (appointed by the court) may bring a contempt action against a contemnor (defendant) for failure to obey orders and judgments involving the care, custody, or maintenance of minor children.
- Probation Officers of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court may bring a civil and/or criminal contempt action in order to collect delinquent payments due any person resulting for a court order.
- The Department of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement Division (DOR/CSE) has many enforcement tools at their disposal, including the ability to file a contempt proceeding to compel compliance with a child support order.