Things happen sometimes that make it tough to fulfill your financial obligations. While you may pay a bill late or fall behind on credit card payments, falling behind on spousal support can become a big deal.
The Judicial Branch of California explains paying spousal support is a court order, and if you fail to follow the court order, it can lead to legal issues.
If you fall behind on spousal support payments, the retribution is immediate. The law mandates a 10% interest charge on all late payments. The system will assess this interest on your balance yearly.
The court could also garnish your wages to take the money you owe. It can also hold you in contempt, which is a charge that could lead to you having to serve time in jail.
The biggest issue is the money you owe keeps adding up. There is no way to get rid of the balance except to pay it.
The only exception to paying spousal support is if the court order changes. You may have an end date on your order, which would then allow you to stop paying, or you may go back to court to request a modification the court grants. These situations would be the only time you could alter how you handle the court order and pay your support.
Do note that if you owe back support payments, you will have to pay those in full even if you do have your court changed by the court.
The best thing to do is act quickly if your circumstances change and you know you will be unable to afford our spousal support payments.