Divorce is hard and complicated and messy, but often the only acceptable choice for an unhappy individual or couple. When the parties separate and become divorced in Pennsylvania, sometimes alimony or spousal support is awarded to equalize uneven financial circumstances.
When alimony or spousal support is ordered, it is in the Court’s discretion to determine who pays, who receives, and how much is required. Factors that may be considered include the ages and health conditions of the respective spouses, their earnings and earning potential, the standard of living both enjoyed in the marriage, and other relevant income, wage, lifestyle, and marital information.
Why Is It Important To Get An Order Of Alimony?
Spousal support is not automatically awarded as part of a divorce decree and so it is not something to which a spouse has any time of inherent claim or right. If the decree does not specifically spell out the terms and conditions of any alimony payments and a spouse stops making what are essentially voluntary payments, there is no enforceable action to be taken against him or her.
On the other hand, failure to comply with a Court Order can result in a finding of contempt of court. And that has penalties and enforceable consequences.
If You Have An Order And Your Spouse Doesn’t Pay What Should You Do?
The reality is, unfortunately, that there are many obligations that go unmet in the world. Sometimes because situations are unforeseen and unforeseeable, sometimes because circumstances change, and sometimes because people simply don’t want to do the thing they are supposed to do. However, the obligation to follow a Court Order is one that has teeth.
If your spouse fails to pay their mandatory court-ordered alimony, you have essentially become one of their creditors. And they are in contempt of court. Therefore, the first thing you should do is contact your attorney and advise him or her of the situation.
You will likely need to bring a motion to the court seeking to hold your spouse in contempt of court for their failure to pay. Assuming the Court upholds the order and grants the motion, your spouse may be subject to criminal as well as civil repercussions for their actions.
Contact Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC
Being able to pursue and stand up for your rights after a divorce can sometimes be a part of the healing process. Don’t allow a spouse who owes you spousal support or alimony to get away with not paying you. And don’t try to fight the battle alone. Turn to the Columbia County family law attorneys at Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC for help. We can be reached at (570) 784-5211.