My Ex Stopped Paying Alimony, What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, many alimony recipients find themselves facing a similar question. Not receiving your support payments can be both incredibly frustrating and financially burdensome. The good news is that you do have legal options available. If you have been awarded alimony by a Florida court, you are legally entitled to receive that money in a timely manner. In the event that your former spouse has failed to keep up with their legal obligations, you need to speak to an experienced Orlando alimony attorney. Your attorney can help you enforce that alimony award.
Legal Tools Available to Enforce an Alimony Order
Under Florida law, unpaid alimony can be sought in several different ways. To start, it is important to remember that alimony is court ordered. Alimony is not optional. A former spouse that fails to keep up with payments is in direct defiance of a court order. As such, they are in contempt of court. Being in contempt of court is an extremely serious offense. Judges have wide discretion to determine the penalty for such an offense. Penalties can will include fines, jail time or both. This makes an action for contempt of court a very powerful legal tool for individuals who are owed alimony. It is a particularly powerful tool if your former spouse can pay you, but is simply refusing to do so. In cases where your ex has the money, the contempt of court alone may be sufficient to obtain your payments. Of course, in many cases you will also need to use additional legal tools. For example, often people fall behind on alimony because of their own financial irresponsibility. While this may certainly make recovery of your alimony more challenging, you are by no means out of luck. You may be able to obtain alimony payments by seeking:
- Wage Garnishment: Essentially, a wage garnishment means that your alimony will be taken directly out of your ex’s weekly paycheck. This is a relatively common form of spousal support enforcement in Florida. It is most frequently used when a former spouse has enough money coming in to keep up with their alimony obligations but currently lacks the liquid assets.
- Writ of Execution: Alternatively, in some cases, you may need to have your alimony award enforced against your ex’s property. While this is less common than wage garnishment, it does become necessary in some cases. Not all property can be seized to fulfill past due alimony obligations. For example, a primary residence cannot be seized. That being said, other valuable property such as a car or expensive jewelry can seized. Further, the threat of using this tool often encourages delinquent spouses to suddenly come up with the money.
Do You Need Legal Help?
The compassionate family law team at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. can help. We have extensive experience assisting families throughout Central Florida. If you are not receiving your entitled spousal support payments, child support payments or your share of the marital property following a divorce, please contact our Orlando office today. Let us use our skills and experience to protect your rights.