John Schneider, the actor who has portrayed everyone from one of The Dukes of Hazard to Superman’s adopted father on Smallville, has asked a family court judge to send him to jail rather than keep asking him to pay spousal support to his wife.
According to the actor’s public statements, he doesn’t have the money to pay his wife the spousal support that he owes. He claims that he would pay up if he were able and that his willingness to go to jail instead is evidence that he cannot.
It’s important to understand that the actor and his wife are separated, but not divorced. Spousal maintenance is something that can be ordered even before a divorce is final — and is often necessary to stabilize the family.
The actor is reportedly $150,000 behind on his alimony payments — a fact that already prompted a judge to sentence him to jail. The actor was briefly incarcerated for his failure to comply with the judge’s orders, although he was released after only a few hours due to overcrowding.
Now, the actor is asking the judge to remove his 120-day suspended sentence and put him back in jail. He claims he cannot get his financial papers (including his tax returns) together in time to comply with the judge’s previous orders — nor pay anything that he hasn’t already paid. He cites his own financial problems and his waning career as an issue.
Cases like this illustrate the importance of trying to find a way to reach common ground over legal issues like spousal support. It’s often possible to avoid hostilities and judicial consequences through the services of an experienced attorney.