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The consequences of not paying alimony in Maryland

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Divorce |

Post-divorce, the court may require one ex-spouse to make payments, known as alimony, spousal maintenance or spousal support in various regions, to the other. This financial assistance helps the lower-earning spouse—the dependent spouse—maintain a decent lifestyle and work toward self-sufficiency. A spouse with this responsibility must fulfill their obligations. If not, they risk facing serious legal consequences, especially if the dependent ex-spouse brings the issue before the court.

What a spouse can do upon nonpayment

The dependent spouse has certain rights if the paying party neglects their alimony obligations. For instance, they have the right to petition the court for assistance. In Maryland, failure to fulfill alimony payments can prompt serious actions by the court. Measures may include seizing the paying spouse’s assets, such as bank accounts or property, to ensure they fulfill their obligations of alimony payments.

Additionally, the court can enforce wage garnishment. This means the court orders the paying spouse’s employer to withhold a specified amount from the employee’s wages. Garnishment occurs before they receive their wages to cover the unpaid alimony amount.

When an ex-spouse faces serious repercussions

Should a spouse continue to default on this alimony duty, it can lead to them being held in contempt of court. The court can impose fines or, in extreme cases, sentence the defaulting spouse to jail time as a result of this serious outcome. So, Maryland treats neglecting alimony payments seriously. The court has multiple ways to fulfill the payments, from extracting funds directly from the non-paying spouse’s salary to confiscating their assets. Nonpayment is not simply a matter between two ex-spouses—it’s a legal obligation enforced by the courts. Any failure to meet these obligations, whether negligent or intentional, can result in severe legal repercussions.