The vast majority of parents willingly contribute to the financial care of their children, but court-ordered alimony is also a legal obligation that must be taken seriously. A failure to pay can have significant consequences.
The original court order regarding alimony was made based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the parents’ economic situation. If some material change of circumstance has occurred, a request may be made for a temporary or permanent modification or a termination if warranted. A change in employment with lower income is a common example. In some situations, the parents can mutually agree to the modification, but experienced Connecticut family lawyers will emphasize the need to get that agreement in writing and go to court and have the judge authorize it.
The Ability to Pay
If the individual has the resources to pay but nonetheless refuses, there are several legal sanctions that may be taken:
- Wage garnishment: This action not only withholds a certain percentage of the wage earner’s salary, it can be a professional embarrassment.
- Lien on bank accounts
- Withholding of tax refunds
- Lien on real property: When the property is sold, the back amounts owed will be deducted from the net sale proceeds.
- Contempt action: Contempt sanctions can include monetary fines, jail, or both. In extreme cases, the person owing the support payments is jailed until all back payments are paid and the obligation becomes current
If some change of circumstance has occurred, it is important to act quickly and seek a court hearing before an enforcement action is instituted by the other parent.