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Man jailed for failure to pay permanent alimony

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After a Maryland divorce, spousal support is often awarded to the spouse with lower income. Most parties wish they could ignore alimony altogether - who willingly wants to pay money to their ex-spouse on a regular basis? But, the reality is that failure to pay alimony can result in serious penalties. The duty to pay it is taken very seriously in some cases - so much so that sometimes people are jailed for non-payment. That was the case for a man who was jailed for refusing to pay $2,000 a week in permanent alimony to his ex-wife.

This amounts to $104,000 a year, with the order beginning January 1, 2012. The man was jailed for eight weeks later that year for failing to make payments. He was released and his case was moved for an appeal.

A decision was finally made. The court kept the award as permanent alimony, but re-worked the figure in the man's favor. Instead of the previous award of $2,000 a week, it was reduced in half to $1,000 weekly. He must also return to the job he held before he was jailed or get a new job within 30 days.

The divorce was bitter and lengthy for both parties in this case as they argued over debts and false accusations. The man also missed deadlines and violated court orders.

Alimony is different from child support in that the court cannot garnish wages or enforce liens. It is difficult to enforce. Even in this case - after spending time in jail - the man may still not even offer to pay alimony. He could end up in jail again, but does that really help things in the long run?

Source: NJ.com, "Appeals court upholds permanent alimony in case that sparked alimony reform debate," Lillian Shupe, June 5, 2014

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