Spousal support, sometimes known as alimony, refers to court-mandated payments awarded to a spouse or former spouse within a separation or divorce agreement. These payments are typically ordered to help a spouse who has earned less throughout the course of the marriage or who might be put at a significant disadvantage when it comes to post-divorce earning potential. As you might imagine, once a court has ordered spousal support payments from one party to another, refusing to or consistently forgetting to pay them can result in serious legal consequences.
One potential consequence is being held in contempt of court. Contempt essentially means that you have been found guilty of violating a court order. This process begins when the other spousal party files a contempt motion requesting assistance from the court in enforcing the order. Under Ohio law, if the court finds an individual in contempt of violating a spousal support order, they can require that party to pay the court costs and attorney’s fees for the opposing party. This is in addition to whatever remedy they decide on for the missed payments.
Another potential consequence is income withholding or garnishment. The court can require that the spousal support be regularly taken directly from your wages. This helps minimize the chance that you fall behind on or fail to pay your spousal support payments in the future. Finally, another collection method is intercepting your tax refunds in an effort to collect any support owed.
Refusing to abide by any of these court-ordered consequences could result in jail time or hefty fines. If there has been a significant change in circumstances since the court’s original spousal support order, you may have the opportunity to have the court modify the order. Significant changes include serious illness, an emerging disability, an involuntary decrease in income, or increased living expenses.
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At The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Kulik, we have years of experience helping individuals through family law issues, such as divorce and spousal support payments. Contact us for a consultation today so that we can begin helping you with your specific situation.