Self Help Is No Help In The Eyes Of The Court
Unfortunately, litigants in matrimonial matters often assume that because their circumstances have changed that their existing obligations will automatically change as well. For example, people will lose a job or retire from their job and believe that because their income has ceased, their support obligations must also cease. In other instances, a payor paying alimony to an ex-spouse may simply stop paying the obligation if they believe someone else has moved in with the person or if their child graduates from high school, they may believe that the child support ends as well.
The litigant who believes that these changes occur as a matter of right may be in for a rude awakening when a Motion to Enforce those obligations (whether alimony or child support) is filed because that litigant just stopped paying. Courts view this as “self-help” by a litigant and they are not very tolerant of people who avail themselves in that manner. Anyone who has an obligation paid through Probation or has a Property Settlement Agreement with their ex-spouse needs to review their changed circumstances with an attorney who can properly advise him or her about how to modify the obligations when the situation is warranted. Any modifications should be in writing to be considered appropriate in the eyes of the Court.
For this reason, it is invaluable to you as a litigant to have an experienced litigator by your side who can give you practical advice and direction on the Court and what the best approach is for your situation. Posted by Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.