If my ex-husband fails to pay his court ordered support and my utilities are interrupted, can I sue my him for punitive damages?

My divorce was finalized 6 weeks ago. I was awarded child support and spousal maintenance. My ex owes over $3500 in arrears which he is forcing me to file a petition to enforce so that I can collect through wage assignment. In the meantime, my utilities are in danger of being shut off. I tried to make payment arrangements with him, so we wouldn’t have to go back to court but he refuses to work with me and is disputing the amount of arrears. He’s made deductions from the temp order payments and I told him he cannot deduct anything from the support payments and if he wants me to pay for something he must bring a separate action against me in court.

Asked on September 25, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country if your "ex" failed to pay court ordered support where your utilities are interrupted your recourse is to file a petition for an order to show cause concerning contempt of a court order in the case where the order arose. You are not entitled to punitive damages against your "ex" for failing to pay the ordered monthly support.

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