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My Spouse Is Refusing to Pay Spousal Support. What Should I Do?

 Posted on January 19, 2023 in Divorce and Family Law

Joliet spousal maintenance attorneyIt is not uncommon in marriage for one spouse to be the primary breadwinner while the other spouse earns less and tends to childcare and matters at home. When spouses get a divorce, it may be difficult for the lower-earning spouse to provide for themselves. As a result, spousal support is often a crucial element of many marital settlement agreements. 

Depending on the situation, a person may rely heavily on spousal support, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the divorce as someone looks to start their new life as a single person. For example, the support may be used to pay for food and clothing or help to pay for child-related expenses if children are involved in the situation. This is why it can be so distressing if spousal payments are not paid on time. If you should be receiving spousal support payments but for whatever reason are not, contact an experienced Illinois spousal support attorney who can inform you of your rights and represent you as you work to receive what is rightfully yours. 

Do I Need to Go to Court to Enforce Spousal Support Payments?

Try to speak with your ex before you take any action. Of course, they have a legitimate reason as to why they cannot pay, or they may have fallen on hard times and are unable, for whatever reason, to pay what they were initially supposed to pay in spousal support. However, if you decide to create a spousal support agreement outside of court, it is a best practice to have both of your signatures on it. Then, if a spouse fails to abide by the informal agreement, you will have proof that they agreed to it. 

How Does the Court Enforce Spousal Support Payments? 

Suppose an ex-spouse refuses to pay spousal support because they think the original agreement was unfair to them. In that case, the spouse entitled to spousal support can hold the non-compliant spouse in contempt of court and thereby order them to make payments. A judge has options when it comes to enforcing spousal support payments, including the following:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Add interest to unpaid support
  • Suspend the non-compliant spouses’ driver’s license
  • Levy fines
  • Require the non-compliant spouse to reimburse the other spouse for court and attorney fees

It is worth noting that the longer a spouse does not pay spousal support, the more severe the penalties will get. For example, if the spouse leaves the state, intentionally becomes unemployed or underemployed, or engages in other evasive tactics, this may be grounds for felony charges and possible prison time.

Contact a Will County Spousal Support Attorney

Do not feel like you have no options if your spouse fails to make spousal support payments. Contact the knowledgeable Joliet alimony lawyers with McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC. Call 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.




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