How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29965
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

If I am ordered to pay spousal support that I cannot afford,

This answer was rated:

If I am ordered to pay spousal support that I cannot afford, what is the maximum jail time for contempt of court?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Civil contempt of court is meant to be coercive - if the judge finds that a person is able to pay, but is not doing so, he has the ability to put the person in jail until he complies with the court order. There is no time limit, because the contempt is considered to be ongoing every day that the person does not pay.

I can tell you, though, that this is an extreme measure. Also, Texas law prohibits spousal support where the spouses were married less than ten years. If you were married only 1.5 years, you cannot be ordered to pay spousal support unless your spouse is mentally or physically incapable of providing for herself. Tex. Fam. Code, Section 8.051. Even in that case, the judge would have to consider your ability to pay and could not hold you in contempt if you truly did not have the money.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Lucy, Esq. and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because of lack of funds, I am forced to defend myself in this divorce court or hearing. Question: What do I need to know in terms of procedure, terminology, and court expectations to to not make it so hard on the professionals

Because procedural questions are not related to the original question about spousal support, the terms and conditions of the site require that i ask you to open a new question. It would also help if you could pose some specific inquiries - trial procedure is an entire year-long course in law school, so it's difficult to know what information you're looking for.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am the one being sued, so I think I would have to identify myself as the respondent when talking of myself and the petitioner when identifying my spouse. Do I wait for the judge to ask for information or am I, or will I, be able to ask questions and make points that are not covered in the questions or information the judge asks for, Also: What records will I be required to bring to the court,

You have to bring everything you want the judge to see, even if you think the other party will have it, and anything that you've been ordered by the judge to bring (that's pretty uncommon). You're allowed to just refer to yourself as "me" and the other party as "my wife." You certainly can choose to refer to everyone as Petitioner and Respondent, but the judge won't hold it against you if you forget.

After your wife testifies or presents a witness, you get to ask questions, too. If you choose to testify, your wife's lawyer and the judge will also ask you questions, but you get to say what you want the judge to know. The judge will allow her to present her case first, but she can choose to call you as a witness. You can't assume that the judge will ask the questions that you want to answer, so be prepared to tell him whatever you want him to hear.