If you were awarded alimony in your divorce settlement, your former spouse is required to make those payments as scheduled. We have attorneys who can help you take action if your ex is no longer fulfilling his or her legal obligation.
The payment of alimony is a legally enforceable debt, and your ex-spouse is required to make those payments when they are court ordered by a judge. If your spouse is not making alimony payments, there are several things you can do. Below are a few helpful points that should not be misconstrued as free legal advice, but could certainly prompt a phone call your skilled attorney:
1. Speak to Your Ex
Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to your ex to remind them they're past due and you want your check. A gentle reminder is all it may take, but this won't work for everyone. If you don't get anywhere following that call, you can move on to the next option.
2. Request the Court to Hold Your Former Spouse in Contempt
This is a very common method of recovering alimony. Most people don't call the judge the first time an alimony payment is late, but they may call when it becomes a regular occurrence and/or the payment stops coming completely.
a. You will need to call the court and ask that a judge hold your ex-husband or ex-wife in contempt. Contempt is when someone is ordered to do something by a court and refuses to follow that rule.
b. Your former spouse will be called into court for a hearing. The timeline on this varies according to how busy the court's schedule is or the availability of the judge.
c. If the judge finds your ex in contempt for lawfully and willingly withholding your payments, he or she might face jail time.
d. If the ex-spouse can prove they are not able to make the payments due to job loss or another financial obligation that's pressing in some way, the judge might order your case to be renegotiated on different terms.
When a former spouse consistently misses alimony payments, it may be necessary to hire an attorney. A family law or divorce attorney may be able to convince your spouse that in order to avoid court, they must catch up on the amount owed. Alternately, if you must seek a judge's intervention, an attorney by your side can protect your rights throughout the proceedings.
An attorney from our firm will make effort to help you reach a positive resolution with your former spouse. It may require only a written notification from our office to your ex informing them that to avoid further litigation they must pay what is owed. Contact us to speak with an attorney who is experienced in cases similar to yours to find out how we can help you.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at HotLegalTips for their insight into alimony and divorce practice.