When the court orders you to make alimony payments, it is a legal requirement that you do so. If you fall behind or stop paying, you are in violation of an order, and the court will likely step in.
Pennsylvania law allows a judge to take several different approaches to remedy the situation.
To pay the missing support, the judge could seize your assets, liquidate them and use that money to pay what you owe. Another option the court could consider is garnishing your wages. The law allows the court to take up to 50% of your earnings.
In addition, as punishment for not adhering to the court order, the judge may make you pay interest on all overdue amounts. He or she may also make you put down collateral to ensure you will pay future payments. You may also have to pay the court costs, including attorney fees, for your former spouse in the matter.
Beyond holding you accountable financially and taking steps to ensure you pay what you owe and move forward in adherence to the alimony order, the court may also penalize you. The law allows the judge to give you up to six months in prison if he or she believes you intentionally did not pay the support.
Not paying your support is not an option if you wish to stay out of trouble with the court. The law allows a range of options the judge can take to get your payments back on track. It could cause you financial difficulties or even land you behind bars. It is not worth it to ignore the alimony order from the court.