Requesting Spousal Support (alimony)

Not that you haven’t requested it! No, no! You’ve requested it. It has even been granted. In court. With a judge who declares, “Yes, this court approves the request for that person to receive X amount of dollars, for X amount of time from that person.” Easy peasy, right…right?

Sure! That person who is now court ordered to pay, even tells the court they understand and they agree to pay that amount for that amount of time.

Now, one would logically come to the conclusion that when someone, in court, agrees to do something, they have just signed their name to it. Their name, their word is their bond! They will do it. “Yes, sir.” And to have something “court ordered” really does not sound like there is a lot, if any, wiggle room to do otherwise.

Except…there is so much wiggle room, that person who just signed their name in agreement can merely walk away, never pay a dime, and no harm no foul…to the court. I am speaking specifically about the agreement to pay alimony. Post separation support.

Perhaps a better title to this post would be Receiving (or not) Spousal Support (alimony).

My abuser went through the motions in court of agreeing to pay alimony. He would have been done by now had he started when he was court ordered to. Alas, he still owes it.

Before I can file a Show Cause for Contempt (because he’s in contempt of court for not doing what he said he would do), I have to file a Motion to show cause for contempt, then at some point I stand in a court room and tell a judge I haven’t received a dime since the divorce, and then the judge will issue a show cause for contempt that then gets served to the delinquent. Because, apparently, even if someone agrees to a court order, they have the opportunity to come back to court and tell a judge why they haven’t followed the court ORDER.

Two things: 1) If the perp is already in contempt of court for not following the original court order, WHY do they have an opportunity to come in and explain their excuse for not paying, and 2) in order for that to even happen, the one filing the motion needs to know where the delinquent resides so he/she can be served. What if their whereabouts are unknown?

W I G G L E R O O M (gee, I think I found the same loophole that degenerates find as well).

The interesting thing is, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Parents have a legal obligation to provide support for their children and failure to provide such support is considered a crime against the state, generally known as criminal nonsupport. Criminal nonsupport statutes exist, in some form, in all 50 states. The severity of the punishments range from misdemeanors with small fines and short jail sentences to felonies with high fines and lengthy prison terms. While the elements of the statutes vary from state to state, generally a state must prove that 1) the defendant acted knowingly or intentionally; and 2) the defendant failed to provide support.”

North Carolina has the following punishment for non payment of child support:

1st offense: Class 2 Misdemeanor;
2nd and Subsequent: Class 1 Misdemeanor
Up to 30 days, $1,000;
Up to 45 days, maximum fine court discretion

The North Carolina Judicial Branch states, “A judge has a number of enforcement options available to address a parent’s failure to pay child support as ordered. Depending upon the circumstances, a parent who fails to pay support as ordered may have wages withheld or be required to serve time in jail.”

And, I’ve found out, the delinquent’s credit report can show the debt owed.

So, a crime against the state? Because it was court ordered and the person who said, “Yes, sir.” isn’t doing what they agreed to. Criminal nonsupport? That sounds beefy.

So, I looked up “is it a crime to not pay alimony?” into good ole Google. I stopped reading the first page when all the posts were about “how to avoid paying alimony through the courts in your state”, “study the laws in your state to get out of paying alimony”, “read these loopholes”, “family law rights” (that one made me laugh), “how to divorce your spouse without paying alimony” and on, and on, and on. The same website as above (NCSL) seems to only have information on children’s issues.

Okay, here is an article from Free Advice – Legal on the consequences of not paying.

“Talk to a divorce attorney about how you can reduce or eliminate your alimony payment in a legal, safe manner. Use the court system rather than being penalized by it.” (But feel free to use the court system to injure the plaintiff with it! It’s as if the “courts” are malleable. Hmmmmmm…)

Not finding anything on how to get the alimony your skipper owes, I went to the NC Judicial Branch website.

“If the other party does not follow a court order, you can file a Motion for Contempt and/or a Motion for Order to Show Cause, in which you tell the court what part of the order is being ignored and ask the judge to hold that person in contempt of court. If the judge finds that the other party violated the order, the judge will decide the appropriate penalty. Penalties for contempt of court can include a verbal reprimand, a fine, jail time, or requiring the party in contempt to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees. An attorney can assist you with this process.”

A verbal reprimand? Scary.

Just curious, is this contempt of court also a crime against the state? Maybe any contempt of court is a crime against the state? Would it, too, be considered criminal nonsupport? I just get a sense that non payment of alimony is not taken as seriously as nonpayment of child support when they are both considered court orders and both possibly crimes against the state. Equal they would appear to be on the surface.

What if we changed the laws to make this loophole disappear?

Hi! I’m MJ! And I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence. This blog, yes, is for other survivors of Domestic Abuse. However, sometimes I like to write about other learning curve events or thoughts in my life.

Through VictoryLife House, survivors can find information to help them through the trauma they’ve experienced. Through this blog, I hope you also enjoy other random types of musings.

Life without abuse IS an option. Choose life!


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Published by victorylifehouse

Overcomer - Peace Advocate - Child of God

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