A court order to pay spousal support may not seem like a big deal until you encounter a life-altering crisis and cannot financially make the payments. For example, you may have lost your job or experienced a pay cut that makes paying your ex unlikely.
Understanding what to do in this situation can help you avoid costly legal consequences. Being forthright about your situation may buy you some time to negotiate an alternative agreement.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore the reality that you cannot pay spousal support. According to the website of the New Jersey Courts, failure to make payments could result in a number of consequences including the following:
- Compromised credit
- Income withholdings
- Loss of driving privileges
- Property liens
- Passport denial
- Court summons
At the earliest indication of your inability to pay, immediately notify the courts of your situation. Explain the reason why you cannot maintain the payments and ask for leniency. Through consistent communication, you can establish a temporary solution until you can resume the terms of the original agreement.
Once you have notified the courts, you can focus your attention on finding a new job. Highlight your competencies and the skills you possess that can make a difference in the workplace. You can also draw upon community resources to help you find job opportunities. Networking is another method you can use to market your skills and look for potential jobs.
As soon as your circumstances improve, update the courts of your situation so you can modify your agreement again. Working a modification clause into your original spousal support agreement can make changing or updating your arrangement a bit more efficient.