How to Enforce an Alimony Order in Florida
Oftentimes in divorce settlements, the court will order the higher earning spouse to pay alimony, also known as spousal support, to the lesser earning spouse in the relationship. This is intended to help the lesser earning spouse maintain their standard of living and transition into becoming financially independent on their own. However, sometimes the paying spouse refuses to obey the court ordered alimony payments, and the spouse receiving the payments must enforce the order. At the law office of Steve W. Marsee in Orlando, we have helped multiple clients understand their legal options and enforced court ordered alimony through whatever means necessary to get our clients the money they deserve.
The first step in enforcing an alimony order is to return to court to ask the judge for enforcement. If your former spouse still refuses to pay you the spousal support you are owed, the judge can hold your former spouse in contempt of court. There will be a hearing where both sides can argue why a spouse should or should not be held in contempt, with the opportunity to present evidence and make a case. If your former spouse is found in civil contempt, they must pay the amount owed or face jail time.
Income Withholding or Garnishment
Another option for enforcing an alimony order is through an income withholding or wage garnishment order. Using this method, the court will submit a writ of garnishment to the former spouse’s employer that instructs the employer to withhold a certain amount of money from the former spouse’s paycheck. That money is then directly sent to the spouse receiving alimony without an intermediary handling the funds. It is important to note that not all money can be garnished. For example, unemployment and Social Security benefits cannot typically be garnished for spousal support orders.
Other Collection Methods
Other collection methods for enforcing alimony payments include money judgments and judgment liens. A money judgment is ordered by the court as a lump sum judgment awarded to the spouse that is owed alimony. This amount can include the spousal support, court fees, and attorneys’ fees for the hearing. A judgment lien is when the court places liens on the paying spouse’s property that cannot be taken off until the alimony is paid. Another option with a judgment lien is to issue a writ of execution, which allows the property of the spouse paying alimony to be sold off, and the proceeds given to the spouse who is owed alimony payments. With a writ of execution, the property at issue can be real estate and personal property such as vehicles, art, jewelry, collectibles, and other property with significant value.
Talk to a Lawyer Today
If your former spouse is refusing to pay court ordered alimony, the law office of Steve W. Marsee in Orlando can help you enforce your spousal support. Call the office or contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more.