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What happens when spousal support isn't paid?

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, can be the center of focus during a divorce. The outcome of this one particular issue can set the stage for one's finances once his or her divorce is finalized. Therefore, building a legal argument that seeks to address the factors courts use to determine whether spousal support is justified is often of critical importance.

Yet, once alimony is awarded the issue can continue to linger. Spouses may have trouble paying spousal support, which may leave the other facing financial uncertainty. Regardless of one's financial position, though, spousal support is court ordered, which means that it must be paid until the court says that it doesn't have to be paid, or until a particular end date identified in the original order.

So what's at stake when spousal support isn't paid? To start, an owing spouse can be charged 10 percent interest on any amounts that go unpaid. Pleading to a judge to reduce this amount won't help, either, since the interest rate is imposed by law. Also, when an owing spouse has an arrearage, then his or her wages may be garnished. The exact amount garnished will likely be in excess of the usual monthly payment in hopes of remedying the arrearage. Interest continues to accrue on those arrearages until they are paid off. Lastly, an individual who willfully fails to pay spousal support can be held in contempt, which may wind up with an owing spouse facing jail time.

Regardless of which side of the issue one falls, there are likely legal issues that need addressing once alimony has been ordered. Being able to put one's position into strong legal arguments is a skill, and one that many find they need assistance with. This is why skilled family law attorneys stand ready to help Californians who could use a legal advocate by their side.

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Law Office of Janice Munoz
707 Torrance Blvd Suite 220
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Phone: 310-870-1093
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