What Happens If I Stop Paying Spousal Support?

What Happens If I Stop Paying Spousal Support?

by May 15, 2019Spousal Support

No matter how angry, bitter, or unfair you may feel about having to pay spousal support, you have to pay it. You may ask the court to modify the amount you pay each month, but only if you or your ex-spouse have had significant changes in income.

“But what happens if I just stop paying spousal support, period?” If that’s the question going through your mind, the answer is: “nothing good”. Refusing to pay spousal support, much like refusing to pay child support, will result is an escalating series of punishments.

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Punishments For Not Paying Spousal Support

If you stop paying spousal support, your ex-spouse can go to a judge and file a complaint. If the judge sees evidence that you are not, in fact, paying what you’ve previously been ordered to pay, they can impose one of several kinds of punishment. This includes:

  • Wage Deductions – the judge can order an income withholding order or wage assignment. With a wage deduction, spousal support is taken directly out of your monthly wages.
  • Federal Income Tax Intercepts – the state can intercept your tax refund to cover late or missing spousal support payments.
  • License Suspensions and Revocations – your driver’s license and/or professional license(s) may be revoked.
  • Passport Restrictions – you may be prevented from renewing your passport (and therefore prevented from leaving the country).
  • Contempt of Court – this is a legal order that may result in a fine or jail time if you don’t make your court-ordered support payments.

You won’t go to jail right away, but if you adamantly refuse to pay your ex-spouse any spousal support, it may eventually come to that.

Work With The Law, Not Against It

It’s not a crime to be angry at your ex-spouse or to hate making spousal support payments. It is a crime, however, to refuse to pay after a judge has legally ordered you to do so.

While it may not feel as satisfying as thumbing your nose at your ex by not paying them, the better (and less expensive) option is to work with an experienced attorney to help lower the amount you do have to pay.

At Vonder Haar Law, we have helped many clients reduce their spousal support payments. If you’d like a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

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