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If you are ordered to pay alimony after a recent divorce and fail to do so, there will be serious penalties involved. Because it is your legal duty to pay your ex spouse alimony, when you ignore a judge’s decree you are breaking court orders. Alimony is, by law, a legal obligation and if you do not make your payments on time you can be held in contempt by the court. This could result in a prison sentence, steep fines, and harsh penalties that will actually end up increasing your alimony. Many states even take away your driver’s license if you stop paying alimony intentionally. It may not seem fair that you must pay your ex spouse a stipend each month, however you will receive a summons or other document that demands your presence in court if you do not. Some courts grant more time to pay alimony and even offer advice for payment plans. If you cannot afford your alimony payments, you can file for spousal support modification.

Your Legal Rights

Losing a job, facing a financial hardship, and becoming handicapped or severely injured are circumstances that deem it acceptable for you to partition to stop your alimony payments. Other situations, like if your ex spouse has become self sufficient by obtaining a new job, or debt forgiveness has been offered for a debt incurred during your marriage to your ex spouse, are also grounds for filing for modification. Often times, if you file for modification of the original alimony ruling, you will not receive the same judge as before. This means that the second judge may not be at all familiar with your previous situation so it is vital that you bring a strong case to them for reducing your payment obligation. This is especially true if you are trying your best to prove your circumstances have changed and you can no longer pay what you used to. Hiring a family law lawyer in this type of situation can help because they can find ways for you to reduce alimony payments for the long term, ask the court for a temporary stop of payments until you get a new job or stop paying for expensive medical procedures after a serious accident. They can also ask that the court takes your case back into consideration.

Contact an Attorney

If you do not want to pay alimony anymore, whether it is because you cannot afford them or because you just do not want to pay, it is advised that you do not just stop paying them. You should contact an attorney to help find the right solution for you such as the alimony lawyer Tampa FL locals turn to. They can appeal to the court to reduce your alimony and teach you your rights in this kind of situation.

Thanks to authors at The McKinney Law Group for their insight into Family Law.