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What happens when the DOR/CSE files a Contempt case?

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Reviewed June 2013

You will know that DOR/CSE filed a Complaint for Contempt at court, when you get “served”. A deputy sheriff or constable hands you the complaint and summons.  He or she can also leave it at your last known address. The summons tells you the date you must go to court for the contempt hearing. See example.

If you do not show up at court for the hearing, the judge can issue a civil arrest warrant called a "capias." A capias warrant is not the same as a criminal arrest warrant. A capias warrant means that a deputy sheriff or a constable can arrest you and bring you to court for the hearing.

At a contempt hearing, you must prove that:

  • you paid the right amount of child support, or
  • you were not able to pay the right amount of child support.


If you go to court on the original hearing date, the judge will not issue a capias warrant.

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