If you live in Missouri and fail to pay spousal maintenance (alimony), you accrue debt for each month of missed payment. You can also face Motions for Contempt of court, which a judge can punish with jail time and additional fees.
You may not wish to pay your ex-spouse anything after a divorce, but failing can have severe consequences. Unfortunately, you can even face these consequences if you cannot pay spousal maintenance due to financial hardship.
You should contact an attorney if you are behind on maintenance (alimony) payments. A legal professional may be able to help you mitigate the consequences of your debt and help you pursue a modification to the spousal maintenance order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Failing to Pay Spousal Maintenance Means Going Into Debt
You begin to accrue debt as soon as you miss the deadline to send your alimony payment. Your ex-spouse can take legal action against you to enforce the maintenance order and collect the debt.
Your ex-spouse can ask a judge to do the following to enforce a maintenance order:
- Garnish Your Income. Whether it’s income from your job, retirement income, or another source, your ex can ask a judge to order garnishment of your earnings. This means that a portion of your pre-tax earnings is withheld to pay your maintenance arrears.
- Issue a Writ of Execution. If a judge grants a writ of execution against you, the local sheriff can seize and sell your property to satisfy your debt.
- Issue a Judgment and Interest. Your ex can also ask the judge to issue a money judgment against you for the unpaid maintenance plus interest. You may also become responsible for your ex’s court and attorney’s fees concerning their effort to enforce maintenance.
- Hold You in Contempt. A judge can hold you in contempt of court for not paying maintenance (alimony). Judges can penalize contempt of court with jail time and/or fines in addition to your maintenance debt.
Dealing with maintenance enforcement actions against you requires experienced legal representation. With assistance from an attorney with a strong background in family law, you can have the legal support you need to block inappropriate enforcement actions and secure a better outcome.
Petition to Modify Your Spousal Maintenance If there has been a substantial and Continuing Change in Circumstances.
Any debt you accrue from missed alimony payments stays with you.
For these reasons, you must seek a modification to a spousal maintenance order in Missouri if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Remember that while petitioning for any modification, you’re still responsible for paying the original amount unless ordered otherwise by the court.
Also, petitions to modify spousal maintenance don’t always succeed – even if a petitioner is experiencing financial hardship. This is especially true when a judge believes a petitioner is responsible for their financial hardship or purposely caused it to get out of paying maintenance.
Quick action may reduce delays and help you avoid liability for maintenance (alimony) debt.
Contact Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. Today
When facing legal action due to spousal maintenance debt, an experienced family law attorney can provide the legal support and services you need to reach a better outcome. With more than 40 years of combined experience, Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. can provide the assistance you need help with alimony debt.