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What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Alimony?

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If you don’t pay court-ordered alimony (also called spousal support or maintenance) in Missouri, there can be serious legal consequences. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Contempt of Court: Failure to pay alimony is considered contempt of the court order that established the alimony obligation. The ex-spouse owed the payments can file a motion for contempt with the court.
  • Wage Garnishment: The court can order that your wages be garnished (a portion automatically deducted from your paycheck) to pay the alimony arrears (past due amounts) and keep payments current.
  • Tax Refund Interception: Missouri can intercept your state and federal tax refunds to pay overdue alimony.
  • Property Liens: Court judgments for unpaid alimony can result in liens being placed against your real estate, vehicles, bank accounts or other property.
  • License Suspension: Missouri can suspend driver’s licenses, professional licenses, recreational licenses and other state-issued credentials for non-payment of alimony.
  • Interest and Penalties: Unpaid alimony accrues interest charges and late payment penalties that increase the total amount owed over time.
  • Criminal Charges: In some cases of willful non-payment, criminal charges for non-support can potentially be filed.

The key is to pay alimony as ordered or work with the court promptly if you cannot pay due to a legitimate financial hardship. Ignoring the obligation only leads to potential fines, garnishments and other enforcement actions. Seeking a modification is better than non-payment.

At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work.  Contact us for a consultation at (314) 408-5957.

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