How Courts Enforce Alimony Payment

Often times after a divorce, one of the former spouses will try to get out of paying alimony to their ex-partner. If the courts discover this violation of the divorce orders they pronounced, they have recourse to a number of methods to make the person pay alimony. A judge has the option to order the confiscation of all of the person’s personal property, including all the rents and profit from real estate. The proceeds from the seized property will be used to provide alimony on the direction of the court.

Some courts place the charge of non-payment by a former spouse to be punished by contempt. In such cases, the spouse will often be asked to pay the overdue support in addition to an additional fine. If the practice of non-payment continues, the judge can have the ex-spouse jailed for repeated offense. In many cases, an alimony order starts with the court ordering the employer of the person who needs to pay alimony to withhold a certain part of the person’s income and send it to the former spouse entitled to alimony. This removes the payor from the equation entirely and makes the process more direct. If the original alimony order does not contain this income withholding clause, you can ask the court to insert the clause once it is proven that your former spouse is trying to get out of paying you.

When the spouse is self-employed, an income withholding order won’t work. In this case, a trust account can be set up on behalf of your spouse on the order of the court. You then have access to the account in case of not getting paid your alimony amount. The court can also order your spouse to find a job if he or she is not employed based on a set of skills that the spouse possesses. A portion of the spouse’s bank accounts and other assets can also be assigned to the former spouse in lieu of alimony.

If the alimony has not been paid for a long time, the court may issue a money judgment for the amount owed along with interest, in addition to providing you with reimbursement for the fees incurred in bringing the matter to the court’s attention. In such cases of non-payment, your first move should be to hire an attorney, since such cases can become quite complicated and drawn out. The lawyer will also be needed to follow up on the case once the judge passes the order, to make sure the order is followed and the spouse pays you your money.

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