When a marriage comes to an end, one spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support to the disadvantaged party. While ruling on spousal support payment, the court will take into account both parties’ financial circumstances.
Depending on the purpose, spousal support can be short-term or long-term. However, it is not uncommon for the paying party to run into a financial difficulty that may hinder their ability to keep up with their spousal support obligation.
Failing to pay spousal has consequences
Falling behind on a court-sanctioned spousal support order can land you in trouble with the law. Depending on the severity matter, your driver’s license can be suspended, or your paycheck garnished. Worse still, you might go to jail.
What if you can no longer afford spousal support?
If you have not paid spousal support when you ought to, it’s either because you are refusing to pay or do not have the means to do so. You have a couple of options, though. First, you can discuss the matter with your ex and agree to revise the amount downwards or stop it altogether. This is known as a modification. If you can agree on a modification, then the next step would be to bring the new arrangement to the attention of the court.
However, if you cannot agree on a modification, then you will need to seek the court’s intervention. Some of the reasons the court may approve spousal support modification include:
- Loss of income (loss of job or poor business performance if you are self-employed)
- A medical condition that is taking a substantial toll on your finances
- Improvement in your ex’s financial situation
Spousal order is binding. However, if your circumstances change, making it difficult for you to keep up with the payments, then you need to explore your legal options.