Refuse to pay legal fees?


If a judge decides or orders you to do anything, and you refuse, you are in contempt of court and the penalties for that could range anywhere from an increased fine to jail time to wage garnishment. End result though, the state will get their way.


You will only be held in contempt for failure to pay if you lack the ability to pay and still do not pay. It is not uncommon for a party to have a judgment for attorney fees entered against them as required by statute only to be unable to pay it. This is sometimes incredibly frustrating to the spouse that is owed the money.

Same logic applies to spousal support - although it is fairly unusual for the court to enter an alimony award which the supporting spouse is unable to pay. The difficulty sometimes arises when a spouse becomes unemployed after the alimony award is entered.

Good luck.

Lee S. Rosen
Board Certified Family Law Specialist
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


What if the judge decides that I should pay my spouse’s legal fees, but I do no pay them - is there a consequence? For that matter, is there a consequence for not paying spousal support?