What are my options if my ex quits paying the alimony they owe?

| Feb 15, 2019 | Alimony

Florida family law judges used to award spousal support more indiscriminately and for extended periods of time in the past. In recent years though, they’ve ordered spouses to pay it only in particular instances and on a temporary basis.

Best case scenario nowadays is that, if a judge decides that you warrant receiving alimony, then you actually desperately need it. If your ex stops paying, you may wonder what options that you have available to you.

If your ex misses an alimony payment, then you’ll want to communicate with them right away to let them know that they have. It may have been an honest mistake.

Should they have stopped paying because they became ill or lost their job, then they’ll need to let the judge know so that their payments can be suspended or temporarily reduced while they’re receiving treatment, recovering or looking for a new position. They can’t just stop paying.

Anyone who is ordered to pay alimony can’t have liens placed on their property or their wages garnished as occurs with those who fail to pay child support. A ex spouse who willfully stops making alimony payments may be held in contempt of court though.

One of the first steps to holding your ex accountable for their lack of payments is for you to petition a judge to have the alimony order enforced. If they fail to show up at the hearing or are given extra time to pay, yet they still fail to do so, then a judge can hold them in contempt for having violated their order.

If a Kissimmee judge rules that they’re in contempt of court, then your ex may be threatened with incarceration as a way to motivate them the pay the spousal support that they owe. They may only be released from jail if they actually can prove to a judge that they’re ready, willing and able to make payments.

In many cases, your decision to file suit in court and the threat of incarceration will be enough to convince your ex to get back on track in paying the spousal support that they owe. If you need assistance in deciding whether this is the best course of action to pursue in your case, then an alimony attorney can advise you of that as well as potential alternative enforcement options that may be available to you.

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