Making ends meet


We are taking my ex husband to court for failure to pay ordered child support and spousal support. He is paying about 30% of what was ordered. His problem is that he lost his job and is having fiancial difficulties. Likewise, I do not have the money to pay my bills without his support (I am working as much as I can). I guess my question is when we take him to court for contempt our side will have to show he has the ability to pay which would be difficult, unless he trimmed his budget and sold assets. But, likewise, that is what I would have to do.

Will this be a decision up to the judge as to whom has to “give in” so to speak. Could I be asked to sell the marital home where I live with the children or cash out my retirement or will he be required to down size his expenses or cash in his retirement? Would both us have to submit a budget to the judge and for him to decide who can best trim expenses?


addendum - I have borrowed the max I can from a bank and maxed out credit cards so I can not get money there. I inquired about refinancing the home mortgage, as that is my biggest expense, but my credit score is too low at this point to be considered for a reasonable refinance.

Would our position in court be to try to convince the judge that he is the one who needs to find the money, since he was originally ordered to do so, or will he be left off the hook until he gets his better paying job back.


In an action for contempt, it will be up to the court to decide whether your ex’s expenses are reasonable, and consequently if he is in wilful violation of the order. Your expenses and budget are not in issue unless and until he files an action to modify spousal support.


Thanks so much. it seems like his side would file a motion to modify spousal support. If so, would that be heard on the same day?

What does it take to be in willful violation? Would simply wage reduction be enough? Would he have to show he at least tried to secure some money to pay his support obligation.


It is not likely that any motion he files at this point would be heard that the same time.

In order to be in contempt the court must find he has the ability to pay support as ordered and is not doing so.