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LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
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I was told to pay my spouses attorney fees and had 10 days

Customer Question

I was told to pay my spouse's attorney fees and had 10 days to do it. I live in AZ and so does she. I have been paying $50-$100 per month every month. Can she hold me in contempt if I do not pay her, in full, within the 10 days? I find this hard to believe considering the days of the debtor's prison are gone.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 3 years ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. When the Judge ordered that you pay the attorney fees, did you ask for additional time, if you knew it could not be done within the 10 days? Also, how much more money is owed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I did not ask for more time. I owe 7k. Is the dollar amount important with regards to contempt? If so, wouldn't there be a table or graph of some sort?

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 3 years ago.
John, thank you for the additional information. When a party fails to comply with an order of the court, they could/may be held in contempt of court. The burden would be on the other party to file the motion and to show the Judge they are failing to comply and that their actions are intentional. They would need to likely show that you have the money and are just not paying it or there is no valid reason which is preventing you from complying. When the Judge ordered the fees be paid in 10 days, you should have requested additional time, if you knew you would not be able to do so. Even now, you can also go back and file a motion with the court, asking for an extension of time and asking that a payment plan be allowed. You would need to show the Judge that you only earn "X" amount each month, that you have other expenses and that the $50-$100 is all that you can afford to pay. As long as you are making an effort to pay, there should be no reason that the Judge places you in jail, as a result of holding you in contempt. Jail is normally a last option and a result of intentionally failing to comply, without having any regard or respect for the courts order. I can certainly understand that the other party wants the money they had to pay their attorney but at the same time, if you are making an effort, paying each month and do not have any more to give, they may have to just accept that, since the Judge may not be inclined to jail you. $7,000 is a lot of money to still owe and paying at a rate of $100 a month, will take time to pay this off. As such, you may have to try and increase the amount each month, as the Judge may not be willing to allow this to go on for 6 + years.

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Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 3 years ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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