What are the consequences of not paying alimony?

When the court orders you to pay spousal support in your divorce decree, it is not voluntary. You have a legal obligation to pay according to the terms set by the judge.

Pennsylvania law arms judges with options for handling someone who does not abide by an alimony order. Knowing what could happen is important to ensure you do not find yourself in a bad situation.

Monetary consequences

To begin, no matter whether you pay according to the order or not, you will continue to owe the money. So, you must pay the alimony you did not pay. It will not go away, and you can usually not get rid of it through bankruptcy. It is a legal obligation you cannot get out from under.

The judge may also assess penalties for not paying. The court has the right to take up to 50% of your income for alimony. In addition, the judge can seize assets and make you pay interest. You may also have to pay any court costs that arise due to your nonpayment.

Additional consequences

Beyond the financial impact of not paying alimony, you could face legal issues. The court can put you in jail for contempt of court. You could face up to six months behind bars. The judge can also decide to jail you if he or she believes that you intentionally stopped paying support without any financial justification for doing so.

Not paying your spousal support is a big mistake. If you are struggling financially, you should seek a modification instead of letting the situation snowball into a major problem with the court.

Archives

FindLaw Network