Law Office of Chandra E. Miller
A Northern California Family Law Firm
Call Now To Talk To An Attorney
530-377-5022 Local
866-679-7592 Toll Free

What happens if I fall behind on spousal support payments?

Individuals who have been ordered to pay spousal support in California may face serious consequences if they fall behind on payments. A person who fails to pay spousal support could potentially be charged with contempt of court and sent to jail. Criminal charges are generally used as a last resort, however, and other methods of collecting late spousal support payments will most likely precede a charge for contempt of court.

Once a person falls behind on spousal support payments, 10 percent interest will be added to the outstanding balance every year. The balance and the added interest must be paid to avoid further penalties, and charges for accrued interest cannot be wiped out by a later court ruling.

In some cases, a failure to pay spousal support will result in the payer having their wages garnished. The amount that is garnished will go towards paying off the spousal support that is past due, which is sometimes referred to as a 'liquidation amount." Even if the past due spousal support is being paid off in installments, the outstanding balance will still accrue interest at a rate of 10 percent each year.

A person who has fallen behind on alimony payments may wish to pursue a court order for spousal support modification. Although a new court order will not erase the outstanding balance, it could help to avoid further penalties. In some cases, an individual may wish to pay spousal support in a lump sum rather than in monthly installments so that the potential for late payments in the future is not an issue. Every person's financial situation is different, however, and the information in this blog is not legal advice.

Source: California Courts, "Changing Spousal or Partner Support", November 03, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Office

Law Office of Chandra E. Miller
1147 High Street
Auburn, CA 95603

Phone: 530-377-5022
Map & Directions

  • Avvo
  • Rated by Super Lawyers

Facing A Divorce Or Family Issue?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy