Joyce was relieved when her ex-husband, Martin, was ordered to pay spousal support. She had no way of maintaining anything close to the lifestyle she enjoyed during their 22-year marriage. It would take several years for her to train for a career so she could support herself. Then, suddenly, she stopped receiving checks from Martin. When your husband stops paying spousal support, where do you turn?
The Facts Behind Spousal Support Orders
Sometimes a court may order one spouse to make monthly support payments to the other spouse. This sometimes is called alimony or spousal support.
A divorce court judge may consider the following factors when deciding whether spousal support is appropriate and how much should be paid:
- Whether the supported spouse has marketable job skills,
- How long it might take for the supported spouse to develop marketable skills, and
- Whether the marriage impaired that spouse’s career opportunities.
The length of the marriage helps determine how long spousal support will be paid. In fact, spousal support may last for an indefinite time period when the marriage lasted 10 years or more.
When the Payments Stop
Court orders are not to be ignored. If you are ordered to pay spousal support, then you pay spousal support or have your attorney try to fight it. If you are on the receiving end of spousal support payments, you have a right to expect those payments.
When an ex-spouse stops paying spousal support, the court may:
- order garnishment of the supporting spouse’s wages, which is also called earnings assignment;
- find the supporting spouse in contempt of court, which could lead to jail time.
In the meantime, interest may be added to the arrearage in spousal support. To recover any back support payments, you may have to start an enforcement action. But other options are available, so talk to one of the lawyers at our California divorce law firm.
Call if Your Spouse Stops Paying Spousal Support
A supporting spouse sometimes defaults on their spousal support obligations due to reduced income, because of the supported spouse’s increased income, or at retirement. At the first missed payment, though, make sure you talk to your divorce lawyer immediately.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Southern California Coast.