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Divorce is one of the most taxing things a person can go through: on an emotional level, on a legal level, and on a financial level. Alimony or spousal support can often be a source of contention. It is frequently ordered when one ex has notably less income than the other ex. Spousal support payments are ordered by the court, and as such, New Jersey has strict regulations in place to make sure spousal support payments are made on time. On the other hand, for payors, spousal support orders can be a hefty financial burden to carry. If that’s where you find yourself and you currently can’t pay spousal support, this blog post will describe what you may be able to do to legally adjust your payment as well as what happens when someone doesn’t pay spousal support. For targeted advice and personalized guidance, call a Sussex County spousal support attorney today.

What Can I Do Before I Miss an Alimony Payment?

You have a few options to take if you foresee you may have difficulty making your spousal support payment. Sometimes our memory can be our biggest problem. If you tend to forget to make payments on time, you can also request to have your salary garnished.

Remember: for a payment that is late by two or three days, you may not even face legal action. But in the spirit of cooperation, you should let your ex know that a payment may arrive late and why.

For as much of a weight as spousal support may be on your finances, your ex may well depend on that money to meet their own budgeted costs. And if you later can’t make a payment at all, you’ll likely need to work with your ex to get the spousal support amount modified. For these reasons, try to have a calm conversation with your ex. Let them know about what problems you may be facing: say if you lost your job or had your salary lowered.

Now, if you know there is simply no way for you to pay the full amount of your spousal support order, then here is where your ex’s cooperation will be very helpful. You are allowed to file an order modification case with the court, to change the amount of your spousal support payments. You can file singly, though it is worth talking with your ex, as filing jointly may have advantages. Note that when a court agrees, it may even do more than adjust your spousal support amount. There are cases wherein the court might even terminate the spousal support order, removing an arrangement that you aren’t able to pay.

Will the Court Hold Me in Contempt if I Can’t Pay Spousal Support?

If 30 days pass and you do not pay your spousal support, your ex can call an attorney. If they request that the court order you to pay the overdue spousal support, you may end up explaining to the judge just what happened. Without a good reason, the judge may order you to pay daily fines until you can resume spousal support payments.

Because spousal support orders are court orders, it’s common for someone in spousal support arrears to be held in contempt of court. If this happens, you may face a face or jail time on top of another order to repay the spousal support you owe.