Spousal support is an important part of many divorces. When one spouse was not working during the marriage or has a significantly smaller income or earning capacity, spousal support is often needed to help them maintain a similar style of living they grew accustomed to during the marriage.

If there are still minor children at home, this is necessary to ensure their lives are not disrupted needlessly by the divorce. Spousal support can be short term or long term and is in any case a big commitment. Sometimes a spouse does not pay or has a hard time paying spousal support. Changes in income or circumstances could cause this. Unfortunately, until a spousal support order is modified in court, the payor, or paying spouse, will have to keep making payments. Any spousal support not paid, i.e. back spousal support or arrearage, accrues interest at 10% per year. This is a mandatory and automatic interest rate on all spousal support arrearage.

If spousal support is repeatedly not paid, a wage garnishment can be instated to include the spousal support amount plus an additional amount to cover the arrearage. Not paying your spousal support may result in the court charging you with Contempt of Court, which is a serious charge that can result in jail time.

It is a good idea to take action as soon as possible to modify the order if you experience a change in income or circumstances that renders you unable to make your spousal support payment. If you are the payee, or receiver, of the spousal support not being paid, you may be able to get help through your local child support services agency if you already have a child support case opened with them.

They can help with enforcing your spousal support order through a variety of methods. This is an option only available to those with child support orders as well. If you cannot take this route, you can seek the help of a family law attorney to enforce your spousal support order. Take action soon either when you are unable to make spousal support payments or you are not being paid your spousal support. There are methods through which you can either change your spousal support amount or enforce an existing order. 

If you have questions about receiving or being ordered to pay spousal support and are in the Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades or Beverley Hills area, family law attorney Mark H. Karney can provide expert and efficient legal counsel. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, Los Angeles family law attorney Mark H. Karney can work with you to draft or modify a spousal support order that is reasonable and fair. Call our Los Angeles office today at 310-564-5710; email us at intake@cfli.com or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.