January 4, 2014

Spouse Stopped Paying Support

What to do when your spouse leaves you paying all the expenses

This is an all too common occurrence and frequent question in cases of separation and divorce. Husband or wife leaves the home, sometimes without much warning, and the other is left struggling to maintain the bills in his or her absence. Electric bills, mortgage payments, shared credit cards and taxes can easily become delinquent and lead to bad credit, liens, or even foreclosure. If your spouse walked out and stopped paying towards your household, you may file for support to ensure continued financial security.

Seeking an experienced Bucks County divorce attorney will ensure that support is filed properly and yields the best results possible. Sit down with your divorce lawyer and explain all of the expenses you have been left with, including insurance premiums that have gone unpaid, cable bills, or medical expenses. Everything should be accounted for before filing for support if your spouse walked out.

Time is of the essence. Be sure to file for support as soon as possible if your spouse walked out unexpectedly. It can be natural to wait in the hopes that he or she returns, but bear in mind that it can be about two months from the initial filing before any court order is signed. While the order may be backdated to account for arrearages accrued following his or her initial leave, adding delays in the hopes of a timely return could be devastating.

Filing for support can be done pursuant to § 3702 which governs alimony pendente lite, counsel fees and expenses. Alimony pendente lite means temporary alimony/support, which is paid during the pendency of the divorce to ensure the continued support of the household. Additionally, the statute indicates that when appropriate, the court may direct the continuation of health coverage and benefits.

The protections of having a support order do not end with making up for a few bills. If your spouse threatens to, or does not, uphold a support order, he or she will be subject to the provisions dictated by § 3703. The court effects payment of any arrearages by entering judgment against a non-paying obligor, authorizing the seizure of goods, attach wages (up to 50%), and add interest to unpaid installments.

If your spouse walked out unexpectedly and you are struggling to maintain your household alone, do not delay in hiring the right family lawyer. Call our office at (215) 942-2100 today to speak with a Bucks County divorce lawyer who can get your case filed and resolved as swiftly as possible. Our experienced family lawyers are trusted by Doylestown area residents to manage their complex matters of support, custody, and divorce.