If Your Ex-spouse Stops Paying Alimony, They May Be Held In Contempt Of Court
If you have successfully obtained a divorce from the courts and have been awarded alimony in Florida, the ex-husband or wife must pay that alimony until it is decided by the courts that it is no longer necessary. However, if the ex-spouse fails to pay, they may be held in contempt of court. Before getting into court proceedings, find out the reason they have stopped paying alimony. Therefore, if it can’t be resolved amicably, then the next step may be to hire the best family law attorney in order to file the paperwork to take the proceedings to court.
Why Has My Ex Stopped Paying Alimony?
Taking disagreements outside the courtroom saves both parties a lot of time and money. So, if possible, it is best to discuss with your ex the reasons they have stopped paying alimony and what it would take for them to comply with the court order. Granted, there may be a legitimate reason. Such reasons could include the loss of a job or having to file bankruptcy. It is important to take these scenarios into account before taking legal action.
However, if they fail to pay because they just don’t want to or they feel it is unjustified despite a legal court order, then maybe taking a legal step is the best course. If you do decide to take legal action, be sure to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer first.
How To Enforce Alimony Orders
When ex-spouses fail to pay alimony, they are essentially disobeying a court order. Judges dislike it when someone doesn’t do what they say. When it comes to delinquent alimony payments, Florida family courts have quite a bit of discretion as to what they can do to bring past due payments current. For example, if the ex holds any real estate investments, a judge can order any rents and profits from real estate transactions be directed towards alimony payments. Of course, if the ex still isn’t paying, there are other solutions.
Contempt Of Court
Anyone who intentionally violates a court order, is likely to face contempt of court charges. Hence, failing to pay alimony can result in contempt. In this situation, a judge will ask the non-paying ex to pay the past due amount plus an additional charge. However, if the ex still fails to make the payments, they will be held in criminal contempt. With this in mind, a criminal contempt charge could end with time in jail.
Depending on the type of alimony ordered in Florida, most alimony orders come with an order for income withholding. Consequently, the alimony payment is withheld from the ex’s paycheck. It is then sent to the other party. As a result, this type of arrangement guarantees that alimony gets paid provided the paying spouse is gainfully employed.
However, If you don’t have an income withholding order and are now having trouble obtaining payments, you can request an income withholding order be put in place to ensure that payments are made consistently.
Judgment And Interest
Often times an ex-spouse owes a significant amount of past due alimony. In that case, you can ask the judge to order back the full amount owed, plus interest and attorney’s fees that have been incurred in an effort to collect on the bad debt.
Writ Of Execution
In some cases, a judge may order a paying ex-spouse to turn over a percentage of their entire bank account, investment account, CDs or other assets as deemed by the courts to bring alimony payments current.
When Your Ex Spouse Stops Paying Alimony, Call The Law Office Of William B. Bennett For Help
If you are owed past due alimony payments and your spouse is unwilling to pay, it is important to contact an experienced family law attorney to help file the proper paperwork to enforce a court order. The process is complex. It should not be approached on your own. Plus, a lawyer can help you make sure you actually get your money. Call The Law Office of William B. Bennett for a free consultation at (727) 821-8000 or contact us on our website here.
Posted in: Alimony