Posted on  Aug 2,2009   


Q.  I was sentenced to jail because I failed to pay alimony.  What can I do to get out?

A. While I like to think I'm good at what I do, I'm not a mind reader and since you didn't provide me with the details, I can't give you a focused reply.

However, probate judges are reluctant to send defendants to jail. They do so only when convinced the defendant either had the ability to pay the alimony at the time it was due but instead chose to spend the money on something else, or convinced that, as you stood before the court, you had the ability to pay the arrears.

That said, because you did not have a jury trial, you cannot be confined to jail for more than six months in connection with the then-pending complaint.While the judge is sympathetic to your plight, the judge is more sympathetic to your ex-wife who needs that money to live on.

The way out is by your coming up with some amount of money that the court accepts on account if it is combined with your promise to faithfully pay the regular order plus something on arrears each and every week.