It can be very frustrating to have established an alimony agreement either through a court order or mediation, and then have your ex stop paying. Perhaps your ex lost his or her job, is dealing with a medical issue, or has encountered some other setback. There may be legitimate reasons for not paying alimony. However, it is important to know that as the former spouse receiving alimony, you do have the option to contact the court and request that action is taken with the help of a family lawyer so you can get what is owed to you.
Should I try to contact my former spouse to see what’s going on?
If you have a decent relationship with your ex, then you may want to reach out to them directly yourself to see what could be going wrong. But, if you don’t hear back, then it may be best to contact the court instead. If the courts find out that your ex has lost a job, been injured, or recently diagnosed with a serious illness, then they may reduce or eliminate the alimony until things get better. If you can resolve it amicably, then it’s worth a try. Otherwise, contact the courts right away for help.
What if my ex just outright refuses to pay alimony?
A former spouse that just wants to seek revenge by not paying alimony, is only making things worse for themselves. The court doesn’t take lightly to exes who refuse to pay alimony, especially if a judge was the one who wrote the terms. By not getting your payments, this means you may not have been able to pay for necessities of living, such as rent, groceries, medication, and other related expenses. The court may decide to suspend their license, garnish wages from their paychecks, or hold them in contempt of court for refusing to pay alimony.
How can I notify the court about what’s happening?
You can file a petition to the court for assistance in getting the alimony you are owed, if your ex has no reliable reason for not paying. Many people hire an attorney for help with paperwork, to confirm they are filling things out correctly and have everything in order. By petitioning the court, you are asking a judge to order your ex to catch up on alimony payments and to be on time in the future (a process called motion for enforcement or contempt).
What happens if the judge rules the alimony petition in my favor?
If the judge rules in your favor, then the court can necessitate the county to confiscate the spouse’s financial estate and profits from real estate. They can order jail time if your ex continues to disobey the law. The courts may require your ex’s employer to take out a portion of their paychecks as a way to ensure that you are getting your due payment. A judge may award you a percentage of money from your former spouse’s bank account, in addition to serving your ex a money judgement with interest.