What Happens if My Spouse Stopped Paying Alimony?

Alimony Issues

During a divorce, alimony may be awarded to the spouse who earned significantly less than the other during the marriage, or is leaving the marriage at such a disadvantage that monetary support is required. The goal of alimony is to help balance the financial status of each spouse, in addition to supporting the lower-earning spouse as he or she seeks financial stability after the separation. We highly recommend that spouses who will be entering an alimony dispute, speaks with an attorney for legal assistance.

Obeying Alimony Court Orders

If your spouse has stopped paying alimony, he or she may face a variety of potential repercussions. A judge usually frowns upon a spouse who fails to abide by an order established by the court. Some spouses may halt paying alimony if they feel as though the verdict wasn’t fair, or simply to get back at their spouse.

There is a chance that the paying spouse recently endured a serious injury or illness, which caused him or her to be out of work temporarily and thus not earning an income. Unless the spouse comes forward to request a modification, the obligation to pay alimony still stands. If a spouse has a legitimate reason for not paying, he or she must notify the court immediately.

Wage Garnishment

Let your attorney know if income withholding was not part of the original alimony order, and if your spouse has failed to submit payments to you. They can help you file a motion to the court, requesting a judge enforces the alimony order. The judge may decide to require that the paying spouse’s wages are garnished from each paycheck, to ensure the recipient spouse receives financial support. Every state and jurisdiction may have different rules regarding how much income can be taken from a paycheck, and which forms of income cannot be garnished.

Contempt of Court

A person who is in contempt of court, is someone who has not followed court orders. Your spouse could be found in contempt of court and must attend a hearing, in which he or she can provide a defense as to why the court order terms have not been abided by. As the spouse who filed for a motion, it is imperative that you have evidence which shows he or she has failed to make payments on time and/or in the full amount.

At a contempt hearing, you may bring forward documentation that shows when payments were received (or not), such as showing a deposit history or other receipts with the date and amount listed. Your spouse may still be held accountable if he or she submitted alimony, but not in the correct amount.

A Bloomington family lawyer can imagine the struggle you may be enduring due to not receiving alimony payments from your spouse. They will do whatever is within their legal power to see that your spouse faces the repercussions of his or her actions. Please call a law firm before yet another alimony payment falls through.

Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and what to do if your spouse stops paying alimony.

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