Consent Order vs. Contract


#1

Help please. My soon to be ex and I have finally reached an agreement on alimony and child support. He is insistent that it be done by contract, not by court order. Is this worth fighting? What if he refuses? It is not a lot of money or years but I want the leverage of having him arrested if he doesn’t pay. Otherwise if it is a contract I will have to sue him. Is that right?


#2

You are correct in saying that the remedy for non payment of contractual support is a breach of contract suit, whereas if support is contained in an order you would have the ability to file a motion for contempt. Normally in an initial contempt setting a judge will not order a defendant to jail, but rather give them a time limit to make all payments current, or face jail time. One is not arrested automatically for non-payment even if support is outlined in an order.


#3

Thanks, I thought that was right. So why would any supporting spouse want to do a court order instead of a contract? If we agree on the numbers is it worth taking him to court to force an order? If he goes in breach of the contract can I then go back and ask for a court order after the divorce is granted?


#4

A supporting spouse would want to have alimony outlined in an Order because it is modifiable based on a substantial change in circumstances, whereas alimony which is outlined in a contract is non-modifiable.