What Happens If I Can’t Afford to Pay Alimony?

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Despite our best efforts, sometimes unexpected events transpire. If you’ve lost your job or experienced an unforeseeable circumstance that has rendered you unable to fulfill your alimony obligations, you may be left pondering the appropriate course of action. It’s crucial to understand that nonpayment will result in significant legal ramifications. If you can no longer afford to pay alimony, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an adept Pensacola Alimony Lawyer who can help you navigate your legal options. Please continue reading to learn the potential consequences of failing to uphold your alimony obligation.

What Are the Possible Consequences of Nonpayment of Alimony?

When one party has a significantly higher earning capacity than their counterparty, they may be ordered to make monthly payments to the other party following a divorce to minimize this unfair financial discrepancy. The payments are intended to help the recipient maintain the standard of living to which they had become accustomed during the marriage. Once alimony is ordered, it must be paid. Nonpayment of alimony will result in being subject to various legal consequences. The following include some of the court’s methods of collecting arrearages and penalties for nonpayment:

  • Wage garnishment or income withholding
  • Interception of tax refunds
  •  Contempt of court
  • Incarceration
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Suspension of your professional licenses
  • Writ of Execution (seizure and sale of personal property)
  • Freeze your financial accounts
  • Fines and interest

Can You Modify Alimony?

Unfortunately, in today’s economy, everyone goes through rough financial patches. If you’ve run into financial problems, you should not stop making your maintenance payments. Instead, it would be best if you communicated with your former spouse. If you have a legitimate reason for the late or missing payments, you may be able to reach an agreement. You can even undergo mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method to work out a temporary payment plan until you can make total payments again.

There can be many changes in one’s circumstances in the years following a divorce that render them unable to fulfill their alimony obligation. If you cannot make your alimony payments, you can petition the court to modify your existing alimony order to reflect a substantial change in circumstances. A significant change in circumstances may include a sudden job loss, a reduction in pay, retirement, an illness, or even incarceration. The court has the discretion to determine whether a modification is appropriate and fair to both parties. However, you will have to demonstrate that your financial status has changed and you no longer possess the capability to continue making alimony payments in light of your altered circumstances.

If you can’t afford your alimony payments, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined Pensacola alimony lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can help you file a petition to modify your alimony order to reflect your current financial circumstances.