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The divorce is finally over. The Massachusetts family law judge has issued the final decree, and you and your former spouse are free to go your separate ways. The only problem is, your ex is not sending you the alimony payment the judge ordered. What can you do?

At the Law Offices Of Sheara F. Friend, we understand that not receiving this income can create serious financial issues. However, the truth is, you cannot force your ex to send you the check. Fortunately, the judge has the authority to compel your former spouse to comply with the divorce judgment. All you have to do is file a Complaint for Contempt form with the court, MassLegalHelp explains.

After you file the complaint, you will receive a Contempt Summons, which is an official court order informing your ex-spouse that he or she must attend court at the specified time. You do not deliver the summons. Instead, you take it to a deputy sheriff or constable, who will serve the papers, get a signature as proof that your ex received them and then return them to you. You then return the papers to the court clerk.

You and your former spouse will get a chance to explain your case to the judge at the hearing. Your ex will probably be required to fill out a financial statement documenting all income and expenses, and you may need to do this as well. If the judge finds your former spouse in contempt of court, he or she may have to spend some time in jail for violating the court order. 

Other violations of a court order, such as failing to follow the parenting schedule or pay child support, may also warrant a contempt complaint. For more information, please visit our webpage.