If you have a court order to pay spousal support in Washington state, non-payment can result in several consequences. First, you may receive a court order that will order payment. After that, the state may garnish your wages. You open yourself to significant legal jeopardy when you do not pay court-ordered spousal support.

What if I can’t afford the payments anymore?

If there is an economic reason that the spousal support payments no longer work and you can’t afford them, that can change things. If you must choose between feeding yourself or your children and paying spousal support, you are in a difficult position. You and your attorney may petition the court for a change in the support agreements.

What if my ex no longer needs the payments?

If your ex has changed their job or has new financial resources, you may be able to pursue a modification. The idea of spousal support is to provide financial stability to the person you used to be married to. If that support is no longer needed, you can argue that you no longer should pay.

However, the worst thing you can do is to stop paying spousal support unilaterally. Changing any court-supported agreement without speaking with an attorney or having a judge review the case is a mistake. Courts look highly unfavorably at violations of their authority and will act.

Pursuing modifications is the better option.

None of the agreements that ended your marriage are written in stone. Yes, they will never change as quickly as you would hope. But going ahead without a modification may leave you open to other liabilities because while circumstances change, that doesn’t always mean they change in your favor.