GB 2 ID: S262432When an individual is obliged by the court to pay support, and fails to meet some or all of the requirements, he/she may have an accumulating debt. If your spouse is reluctant to provide the support payments as advised by the court, they may be required to attend a default hearing. The judge will demand to know why they are behind in payments. Those who refuse or delay in paying spousal support breach the court order and may be forced to face harsh consequences. This is because the court in Canada places high value when it comes to paying alimony payments.

Spouses Who Fall Behind Their Support Payments

When a spouse fails to pay support, they begin accruing arrearages or what is termed as payor’s arrears of support. If there is no good reason why they’re not fulfilling the obligations, you may get help from a divorce lawyer in Toronto to help enforce the orders made by the court. Many things could have happen when the amount ordered as support is not being received:

  • Your former spouse may have lost their job
  • Your former spouse may have been sick and thereby unable to work
  • Your former spouse may have gotten tired of sending the support
  • They want the court to reduce the amount

Commonly, the person who owes spousal arrears may look for ways to reduce the amount or even stop paying these arrears. If you spousal is not paying the court-ordered financial support, you may find out what could be the problem. Taking a step back, you may find out that your spouse has been sick or lost their job. This means that you cannot get blood from a stone. In such instances, you can only make agreements to see whether the amount may be reduced. You may either suspend the payments or even stop them for a period of time until your spouse recovers. However, if you find out that your spouse is avoiding making the payments, you have no choice other than to look for a divorce lawyer to help you seek help from the court. The judge may order your spouse to pay the money in arrears and make sure to keep up with future payments. As such, you may be required to file a motion of contempt. This is only if the circumstances leading to failure to delay payments cannot be mitigated or discussed by both parties.

Filing A Motion Of Contempt

If your spouse is not taking the alimony court orders seriously, you may file a motion to enforce. This is to make the judge impose punishment or rather make the judge hold your spouse in contempt of court. The court may take action if:

  • There was a court order clearly stating the amount of money to be paid as spousal support
  • If your spouse has failed to pay alimony deliberately or willfully
  • There must be a burden of proof to show that the spouse supposed to pay the alimony was unable to obey the court order

Paying alimony on time ensures that the party receiving support can maintain financial stability which was present before the divorce. Again, it also helps to keep ensuring the low earning spouse doesn’t rely on public assistance. When making a move for contempt, you may need to show documentation of when you received the support and when the financial support was not received. If your former spouse is found to be in contempt, the judge may request him/her to make the payments within some stipulated time. If this is not followed, the judge may order a jail term or any other consequences he/she may deem fit. To have the processes undertaken with ease, you may consider consulting an experienced family lawyer who will also represent your interest in court and ensure your rights are protected.

Court’s Discretion In Paying Spousal Support

If your spouse has delayed paying the alimony, the court has powers to use any punishment they deem fit. Each state has its way of deciding how alimony is enforced. For instance, the judge may order the paying spouse investment, such as real estates be repossessed and the money used to pay for alimony. Always remember that the court’s job is to make decisions that they deem fair and equitable concerning the circumstances of the proceedings of enforcing orders which are violated. When your former spouse has refused to follow the orders, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the respondent obeys the court orders. If this doesn’t happen, the court has powers to punish anyone who disobeys the orders. Spousal support can be stopped if:

  • The court changes the order
  • There is an agreement between both parties
  • Conditions stipulated for paying the alimony has been met

To follow the right process when filing a motion of contempt, consider looking for an experienced divorce lawyer.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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