What Should I Do If My Ex Stops Paying My Alimony?


After the conclusion of your divorce case, it is common to breathe a sigh of relief, hoping you will not have to involve the courts with your relationship any further. However, if your former partner has stopped paying court ordered alimony payments, it is necessary to take legal action. Contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options to enforce your alimony award.

The first step is to identify the type of alimony award you have been given and if any outstanding circumstances have occurred to provide legal justification for the termination in support. For instance, if you were awarded temporary alimony, this award concludes at the end of your divorce proceedings. You can no longer anticipate any further temporary support, as it is only awarded during the pendency of your divorce. If the court awarded you durational, bridge the gap, or rehabilitative alimony, these awards will have a specific end date or plan. Look to your settlement agreement or final judgment of divorce to determine this date and see if it has passed resulting in the end of your alimony payments. Rather, if you have been awarded permanent alimony these awards are indefinite in time and rarely will cease. However, for each alimony award, all may terminate upon the death of either party or remarriage of the receiving spouse. If you fall into any of these categories, this could be a reason your alimony has ended.

In contrast, if your former spouse is willfully neglecting to pay their court ordered support, legal intervention is necessary. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney can assist you with determining proper recourse. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will file a Motion for Contempt, informing the court of your spouse’s willful disregard for the court’s order to pay the directed support. From there, the court will determine proper recourse. Florida courts are given broad discretion to determine proper remedies for a violation of a court order. In cases of alimony, courts tend to order criminal contempt, civil contempt, wage garnishment or writ of executions. Criminal contempt is entered in cases where a spouse is found by the court to have the ability to pay the required support and is willfully neglecting to do so. Criminal contempt may result in criminal proceedings and jail time. The convicted spouse is required to pay all alimony owed, to purge themselves of such contempt. If non payment is not willful, then a civil contempt may be ordered and the court must only find there to be a valid support order and failure to pay it. The court will still order the payment of past alimony; however, jail is not an option in civil contempt cases. The court may also order your former spouse’s wages be garnished. This is an order on the spouse’s employer to remove the amount of spousal support directly from the employee’s paycheck prior to the payment entering the hands of the employee. This ensures your spousal support every month through a third party. Finally, the court may also order the seizure of your former spouses’ property to satisfy the alimony payments. This property may include, vehicles or other assets but not your spouse’s home. It is imperative to discuss the options of repayment with your Orlando Divorce Attorney and implement proper strategies to ensure the payment of future alimony.

After a divorce, many individuals may depend on the alimony award given in their divorce proceedings. If you are having problems receiving alimony payments that you are entitled to, contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney to see what solutions he can assist you with to get you back on track financially.

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