What Happens If I Don’t Have The Means To Pay Alimony?

cannot pay alimony

When you make an agreement to pay alimony, you need to stick to it. If you fall behind on payments, you can end up in a lot of legal trouble. You could even end up owing extra money on top of your late payments. But what happens if you genuinely cannot pay alimony right now? Is there anything that you can do? Our alimony and spousal support attorneys in Bergen County, NJ can help you sort through your options.

Can I Be Jailed If I Do Not Pay Alimony?

To make it simple, yes you can actually be jailed for not paying your alimony! If your spouse takes you to court and you have not paid, you can be held in contempt and jailed. This is usually a last resort though. It is rather difficult to get alimony payments out of someone when they are in a jail cell.

The court has other ways of motivating you to pay though. A judge could decide to:

  • Suspend your driver’s license
  • Garnish your wages
  • Place a lien against your assets or property

This is why you need to pay alimony as scheduled. If you cannot pay, you need to make other arrangements.

What Should I Avoid If I Cannot Pay Alimony?

When you realize you cannot pay alimony, you should not just stop paying. This is a mistake many people make. They simply act like they do not have this obligation to worry about anymore, and that can land them in legal trouble.

When you can’t pay, you need to tell your ex. If you are on speaking terms, you can try to work out an agreement with them that would allow you to catch up on your payments and avoid court. If you do not talk, then your attorneys can try to find a solution.

Ignoring your obligation is the worst thing that you can do. You’ll only make your former spouse mad and risk being brought to court, and that’s basically guaranteed to cost you even more money.

Can I Modify the Alimony Agreement?

It may be possible to modify your alimony agreement. You just need a good reason why you cannot currently pay alimony and why your schedule of payments should be adjusted in some way. Being bad at managing your money is not an excuse, but something like a medical emergency would be.

You just need to back up your excuses with proof. If you have medical expenses, be prepared to show the bills. If you lost your job, you should have proof of that and evidence that you are currently searching for a new position. In cases like these, it may be possible to temporarily adjust your alimony schedule and avoid punishments from the court.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you need to make a new alimony agreement with your ex, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark. We can help you with this issue and other post-divorce negotiations. Schedule a consultation with our experienced team today.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts

  •  What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
  •  Angela M. Scafuri Nominated Vice Chair of NJSBA Women in the Profession Section
  •  What Are The Best Ways To Save Money in an NJ Divorce?