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Former TV star says he can't pay overdue alimony

Most people who get behind on their spousal and child support don't serve jail time as a result. It's rarer still for someone to request time behind bars. However, that's just what John Schneider did. Schneider is best known as one of the stars of the popular television show "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Schneider's wife was awarded nearly $19,000 a month in alimony after the couple broke up in 2014 after more than two decades of marriage. She cited irreconcilable differences in her divorce filing.

Last month, Schneider was sentenced to serve three days in jail because he reportedly owes his former wife over $150,000 in alimony. He was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service and an additional 120 hours in jail for contempt.

He was released from the Los Angeles County Jail the same day he was booked due to prison overcrowding. The contempt sentence was suspended in lieu of meeting certain conditions. These include paying the taxes needed to be able to transfer the couple's property in Apple Valley to his ex-wife, submitting required financial disclosures and paying other money that he owes her.

Schneider, however, says he probably will be unable to comply with those conditions and asked to serve his jail sentence instead. In a letter to the judge in the case earlier this month, he spoke of his "regret and embarrassment" about being unable to comply with the conditions set by the court. He told the judge he is "leveraged to the max." The actor said that he has tried to do "what I believe is ‘right' throughout this whole process."

The letter didn't persuade Schneider's ex-wife or her attorneys, however. They asked that it be stricken from the record until her attorneys could question Schneider in a hearing about the financial difficulties he has cited.

One of the purposes of spousal support is to prevent a person from suffering undue economic hardship after a divorce. However, it's not meant to send the payer into dire financial straits either.

How much money a person ordered to pay support actually has, particularly if he or she has complicated financial dealings, can be a matter of dispute both during and after divorce. Whichever side of the equation you're on, it's essential to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and present your case.

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