Failure to pay alimony, just as failure to pay child support, may create issues for both former spouses. An important aspect behind failure to pay alimony is the reasons for this failure to pay alimony. For example, if a former spouse paying alimony loses his or her job due to an illness caused by COVID, it may be difficult for that paying spouse to pay the alimony. On the other hand, some paying spouses might refuse to pay alimony out of spite.

What happens if there is a failure to pay alimony?

One of the things that may happen if the paying spouse refuses to pay alimony to the other spouse is the filing of a motion for contempt. A motion for contempt is a type of motion (rather than a new action) where one party asks the court to find the other party in contempt and order the other party to comply with the court’s order. Contempt means willful or intentional violation of a court’s order.

If, after a hearing, the court finds that the paying spouse willfully failed to pay alimony, the paying spouse would be held in contempt. Then, the court might order the paying spouse to be jailed until the paying spouse pays the alimony arrears.

Can my husband or wife quit his or her job to avoid paying alimony?

Generally, evidence of a paying spouse’s willful unemployment or underemployment may be considered in a contempt motion against the paying spouse for failure to pay alimony. That is, such evidence may be introduced to show that the paying spouse is willfully disobeying the court’s order on alimony payment.

What happens if you can’t pay alimony?

Circumstances after the final judgment and decree of divorce may change such that a former spouse paying alimony has a legitimate reason for not being able to pay alimony. If that is the case, the paying spouse may want to consider filing a modification of alimony.

Consult with a divorce attorney Atlanta about your options.

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