Failure to pay alimony may result in jail time

Failure to pay alimony may result in jail time

Some of our Michigan readers may be familiar with the issues a divorce can bring. And, some may find it interesting to learn that when a man who was court-ordered to pay his wife alimony failed to do so, he was jailed for failing to meet his spousal support obligation.

According to reports, the man is facing a “non-support” charge, and has been in a county jail for eight weeks. Further, as a result of being jailed, he lost his job. While he was working his wages were garnished, but since he is incarcerated and cannot work, no wages can be garnished. The wife indicated that he owes her more than $65,000.

Courts consider factors such as the length of the marriage, age, health and earning capacity of the parties at the time of divorce when determining spousal support obligations. In this case, the couple married in 1995, the wife became disabled in 2003 and she then filed for divorce in 2007. The divorce was finalized in 2011, and the husband was ordered to pay $2,000 a week in alimony. Apparently, the husband has been jailed in the past for non-compliance.

The consequences of not paying court-ordered alimony can include jail time. However, it can be quite obvious that being jailed does not serve either side well – the party obligated to pay cannot meet their obligation while in jail, and party entitled to receive won’t get any support. In today’s economy, the financial status of a party can change and they may not be able to meet their obligation.

It is important of anyone facing hardship with an alimony or spousal support obligation to seek get the right information about legal options as soon as possible. Even though courts follow guidelines when determining alimony obligations, it can be negotiated in an agreement without court intervention.

Source:, “Man jailed for alimony ‘holds the key to his own jail cell’, says ex-wife,” Lillian Shupel, Dec. 17, 2012

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