What Happens If You Can’t Afford To Pay Alimony Or Child Support?
Court-ordered alimony and child support are a major source of conflict and resentment in divorce cases. When the court decides the amount, it is almost inevitable that the lower income spouse will think that they are not receiving enough or the higher income spouse will think that they are paying too much. Even if the parties agree to an amount in their marital settlement agreement, with or without mediation, an unexpected financial hardship that affects either party can lead to renewed conflict about support obligations. The higher income spouse’s ability to pay is always a factor in determining alimony and child support awards. If you cannot afford the amount of alimony or child support that the family law court has ordered you to pay, contact a Birmingham modifications lawyer.
The Court Might Make You Secure Your Support Obligations With Life Insurance
The court cannot order money to materialize out of thin air; if it did, we would not be in our current situation where more than half of American working age adults are living paycheck to paycheck. The court assumes that both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially until the children reach adulthood. Therefore, if you earn more money than your ex-spouse and are the main source of financial support for your children, the court might order you to buy a life insurance policy with your children as beneficiaries. Likewise, the court might order you to buy a life insurance policy with your ex-spouse as the beneficiary if you are the main source of support for your ex. The point is not to make you worth more dead than you are alive; rather, it is to enable you to keep you from having to impoverish yourself to afford your court-ordered support obligations.
Modifying The Amount of Your Alimony or Child Support
You have the right to seek a modification of your alimony or child support if you cannot afford the amount that the court has ordered you to pay. You can do this if the court made an unfair decision about the amount or if you have had an involuntary change in financial circumstances, such as reaching retirement age, a serious illness or injury, or being laid off from your job through no fault of your own.
The Worst-Case Scenario
Garnishment of your bank account or paychecks to enforce payment of alimony or child support is the worst-case scenario. It only happens if the court determines that you are choosing not to pay alimony or child support even though you are able. This includes cases where the higher income spouse is intentionally earning less money than they are able to earn in order to avoid paying alimony or child support.
Contact Peeples Law About Modifying Alimony or Child Support Orders
A Birmingham family law attorney can help you reduce the amount of your alimony or child support obligations if you cannot afford the amount that the court has ordered you to pay. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.