How to Collect Unpaid Alimony
Alimony, or spousal support, is set either by an agreement of the spouses or through a court order during a divorce. It requires the economically advantaged spouse to provide financial support to the less economically secure spouse. While the payment of alimony is ordered by law, sometimes a spouse refuses or is unable to pay what is owed. Thankfully, the law provides options to collect unpaid alimony that is owed from one former spouse to another.
How to Prove Unpaid Alimony
If your former spouse is refusing to pay alimony, you must have proof when you go before the court. An experienced family law attorney will be able to guide you through the process, but the most important thing that you can do is keep a paper trail of the unpaid spousal support. Collect any written proof of unpaid payments or untimely payments made by your former spouse. In addition, collect copies of your own expenses and finances to show the court that you are experiencing difficulty as a result of the unpaid alimony.
Ways to Collect Unpaid Alimony
The court has a number of options when determining how to collect your unpaid alimony. If you are required to go to court repeatedly in order to get your former spouse to pay, then the judge may place a contempt of court charge against him. In order to absolve the charge, your former spouse could be required to pay all alimony in arrears as well as court costs. In addition, your former spouse could face fines and jail time for the contempt charge if the spousal support remains unpaid.
Another option to collect unpaid alimony is to seek mediation. This process requires a certified mediator and it is highly recommended that both parties have an attorney present. The purpose of the mediation is to determine the purpose behind the unpaid payments as well as how to move forward collecting on the debt.
The court can also order that your former spouse’s wages be garnished. In Florida, section 61.12 of the state code provides that the court may “issue a continuing writ of garnishment to an employer to enforce the order of the court for periodic payment of alimony or child support or both. The writ may provide that the salary of any person having a duty of support pursuant to such order be garnished on a periodic and continuing basis for so long as the court may determine or until otherwise ordered by the court.”
A final option to collect unpaid alimony involves taking your former spouse to small claims court or a higher court for restitution. It is considered an act of debt collection and you must specify how much your former spouse is in arrears. There is an option for a trial where both parties can present their evidence regarding the unpaid spousal support.
An Orlando Family Law Attorney Can Help
The experienced family law office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. understands the importance of alimony payments for your financial well-being. Call or contact our Orlando office today for a free and confidential consultation of your spousal support needs.