Alimony payments are often awarded to help supplement one spouse’s income until he or she is able to complete vocational training or find a better paying job. This is especially common among those who were married for a significant amount of time and were not employed, so that they could care for the couple’s children. When these payments unexpectedly stop, the recipient may find him or herself in serious financial difficulty, which makes it especially important for these individuals to take immediate action to enforce compliance. Otherwise, the recipient could accumulate a number of debts and delinquent payments over a short period of time. If your former spouse was ordered to pay alimony, but has failed to fulfill this obligation, please contact an experienced divorce lawyer who can help protect your interests.
Alimony is considered a financial obligation, so former spouses who are seeking overdue alimony payments have all the rights of a creditor when attempting to obtain repayment. This means that the wronged parties can ask the court to enforce the alimony award. Unfortunately, many delinquent parties falsely claim that they no longer have the financial means to make alimony payments. While in some cases this may be true, in others, it only represents an attempt by the non-paying party to avoid his or her financial obligations. This is often done by transferring assets to other accounts or otherwise taking steps to hide income. An experienced attorney will be able to provide evidence of these fraudulent transfers to prove that an ex-spouse is financially capable of compliance.
Methods of Enforcement
Once a person has filed a petition with the family court, requesting enforcement of an alimony award, a judge can utilize a variety of different methods to collect overdue alimony. For example, a court may issue an order, known as a money judgement, that states how much the ex-spouse owes and orders the at-fault party to issue payment immediately. Courts are also permitted to order a writ of execution, which permits the seizure of certain property or assets from the non-paying party. This property is then sold and the proceeds are given to the wronged former spouse. However, it is important to note that a person’s home is exempt from this method of enforcement. Finally, judges have the option of issuing a writ of garnishment, which authorizes the deduction of payments directly from the non-paying party’s earnings. Generally, courts are much more likely to use this option when the party ordered to pay alimony does not have assets that can be seized, but does have steady employment. Instead, many judges choose to set garnishments as continuing, so that payments are made periodically according to a predetermined schedule.
Talk to a Ft. Lauderdale Divorce Attorney
Enforcing an alimony award can be difficult, especially if the non-paying spouse is attempting to hide assets. If you have not received alimony payments as ordered by the court, please call 954-945-7591 to speak with experienced and compassionate Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your enforcement options.