The judge or jury may order your ex-spouse to pay alimony or spousal support as part of the divorce ruling. Generally, spousal support is paid by the spouse who is earning more to the spouse who is earning less. This serves to balance the economic stability of both spouses and have the lower-earning spouse live a comfortable life without being destitute and dependent on public assistance. So what happens if your ex-spouse refuses to pay alimony? Through the help of a divorce attorney, here are ways of enforcing the spousal support order.
Contempt of court petition
In a contempt of court petition, you ask the family court to declare your ex-spouse in contempt for failure to adhere to the alimony order. As the claimant, you have the burden of proof to show that your ex-spouse is acting contrary to the court order. In this regard, your divorce attorney will help you show the deposit history of when monies were received and when they weren't at the contempt hearing. Additionally, the attorney may also disclose communications from the ex-spouse confirming that he or she was late on payments or in which the claimant is asking the defendant that he or she abides by the spousal support order. If the court finds the ex-spouse in contempt of court, they may be ordered to part with a specific amount of the spousal support on that same day or by a certain date or else face jail time.
With an alimony order in place, a spouse can have monies automatically garnished from the ex-spouse's salary. Here, the employer of the ex-spouse is instructed by the court to withhold a specific sum of money from every pay check at the end of every month. Then, these funds are transferred to the bank account of the claimant. Each state has certain rules regarding the amount of income allowed for garnishment and the types of income exempted from garnishment, including social security benefits.
Other collection measures
There are other methods to collect owed spousal support. For example, the family court may order the driving license of the defendant to be suspended if alimony continues to be avoided. Additionally, the bank account of the defendant can be also be garnished. The claimant can also file a lien against any real estate that the defendant owns. Last but not least, the defendant may be barred from travelling outside the country.
For more information, contact a local divorce attorney.