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Failure to Pay Alimony Can Land Ex-Spouses in Jail, New Jersey Family Lawyers Warn

February 14, 2013 | Posted In Family Law - Pay Alimony |

New Jersey family attorneys say that alimony is one of the leading sources of tension in the relationship between ex-husbands and wives. A mandatory, court-decreed payment of a predetermined amount of money that passes hands on a fixed schedule, alimony is bound to cause problems, especially when it is withheld, or when one spouse is unable to pay the other.

Such is the case with John Waldorf, a 60-year-old New Jersey man who has been jailed for failing to pay alimony to his ex-wife Lisa. The Waldorfs had previously made Hunterdon history for the longest divorce process—Lisa filed for divorce in 2007, after twelve years of marriage, but their divorce was not finalized until 2011. Beginning in January 2012, a New Jersey court ordered Waldorf to pay his ex-wife $2,000 a week in alimony for the support of Lisa and their son, as well as an additional $100,000 in legal fees that his wife racked up during their four-year court battle.

Over the last two years, John Waldorf has spent several nights in jail, charged with “non-support,” when he failed to make alimony payments on time. Although his sentences were shortened once he paid, this time, Waldorf faces serious financial problems due to his imprisonment. His ex-wife claims that he owes her more than $65,000.00. Waldorf has reached an agreement with the New Jersey courts to pay one-third of that amount in exchange for his release, but Waldorf has been unable to earn a paycheck since his incarceration. State law limits how much money can be drawn from a paycheck, but in jail, Waldorf has no paychecks from which to draw alimony payments.

Jailing an ex-spouse because he or she is unable to pay alimony creates a debtor’s prison situation, and in Waldorf’s case, he is unable to work because he is in jail. While New Jersey family attorneys advise that timely alimony payments are necessary to avoid jail time, making a deal with the court to pay a reduced amount is also a viable option, and one that may save money and jail time.

The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, PA represent residents who are separated or in the process of separating from their spouses, and may face alimony stipulations. Contact an experienced NJ family attorney for a consultation today.

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