- February 18, 2022
- Levoritz Law Group
Alimony is a court-ordered payment levied on the spouse with the higher income to help the spouse with the lower or non-existent income establish financial stability. The payment is determined and ordered by the judge when the divorce comes to a conclusion. It must be paid even if the income or financial situation of the spouse who is required to pay alimony declines.
Failure to pay any alimony obligations has legal consequences.
If you are dealing with an ex-spouse who is not fulfilling his or her obligation to pay spousal support, this article details what your options are to enforce the payment of the support you are entitled to.
Find Out the Reason Why Your Ex-Spouse Is Not Paying Alimony
When your ex-spouse suddenly stops paying alimony, you should first find out why. Some reasons that an ex-spouse stops paying alimony include:
- job loss
- significant reduction in earnings
- an accident resulting in an injury or disability.
In some extreme circumstances, such as severe injury, the court may reconsider its initial alimony ruling and reduce the amount of support to be paid, or even suspend it temporarily, until your ex-spouse recovers financially or physically and is able to resume payments of support.
What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Spousal Support?
If your ex-spouse refuses to submit the court-ordered support payments to you due to resentment or greed, you should hire an attorney right away. Knowledgeable legal counsel can help you file a report with the court as soon as possible. While the process of collecting unpaid alimony can sometimes be lengthy and difficult, the court will look to protect you and inform your ex-spouse that he or she has disobeyed an order of the court. Your ex-spouse will be forced to pay any missed alimony payments immediately.
Taking the Issue to the Court
If your ex-spouse continues to refuse to pay you alimony for no legitimate reason after receiving a formal request from the court to do so, seek the help of a divorce attorney and file a motion for contempt with the court. Seeking court assistance to obtain alimony payments you are entitled to may turn into a long process. The wait can be worth it. If the court rules in your favor, you may be awarded back payment as well as interest or other fees.
How to Document Missed Alimony Payments
If you are preparing for a contempt hearing, keep in mind this checklist so you can be organized and prepared:
- Hire a reputable and recommended divorce lawyer who will understand your side and has legal expertise in the field of divorce and marriage.
- Contact the local court and find out what the required documents are (your attorney can do this for you).
- Prepare all the essential documents that will help in the case.
- Make copies of any evidence (documentation proving that the payments were not received).
- Stay calm. Be smart with your actions. An emotional scene in court can sabotage your case.
If your ex-spouse is found to be in contempt, he or she will be forced to pay the debt owed to you by a certain deadline or face imprisonment.
Moreover, the judge can order the seizure of property, bank accounts, and financial estates owned by your ex-spouse due to the failure to fulfill his/her court-ordered responsibilities. The law is on your side and offers several solutions to ensure you receive the alimony you were awarded by the court. Therefore, seek legal help from a spousal support lawyer as soon as possible if you stop receiving alimony.