Divorces are innately challenging. This is especially true when these highly personal matters are influenced by children, conflicting viewpoints, and the division of money and assets during a divorce. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, often, one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse who happens to make less money so that they have the ability to maintain their current quality of life.
Challenges Faced When Alimony Payments are Neglected
Unfortunately, many spouses are reluctant to pay alimony, even if and when the alimony has been court-mandated. If a spouse fails to meet court-ordered alimony payments, they have technically violated and disobeyed a written court order – which is not a move most judges appreciate.
As a result, a judge or court officer typically has the discretion to determine penalties for spouses failing to meet their financial obligations which directly causes a financial burden for the spouse receiving the payments.
As one would expect, someone may also fail to pay or fall behind on an alimony payment for various reasons. First, it is possible that the paying spouse has unexpectedly lost their job or is facing medical issues that impact their capacity to meet work obligations. Which, ultimately, reduces or stops one’s income and negatively impacts one’s financial situation.
However, it is also a genuine possibility that the paying spouse simply grew tired of paying alimony.
What to do If a Paying Spouse Fails to Pay Court-Ordered Alimony
If you’re not receiving alimony payments that have been court-ordered, the first step is to investigate why the payments have stopped.
Is there a legitimate reason that they cannot meet their alimony payments? If so, are you willing to work out an arrangement that works for both of you until the paying spouse can resume their work duties? Consider hiring an attorney to legally represent your interests by drafting an agreement that can be used should the payments fail to begin again.
Conversely, on the other hand, if the paying spouse lives in the greater Austin, TX, vicinity and is simply trying to avoid their alimony obligation or refuses to pay despite your agreement, you should choose to be legally represented by the best Austin divorce attorney the state of Texas has to offer.
Mediation offers a viable non-adversarial method to resolve disputes. A mediator is trained to facilitate a mutually agreeable resolution among the parties involved. Here is how it works with regard to divorce proceedings. Fortunately, a spouse who is not receiving alimony has these potential legal moves to help collect alimony from a non-cooperating ex-spouse.
Mediation is often less stressful and expensive than going to court, allowing both parties to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. This process encourages open communication and collaboration, which can lead to more creative and flexible solutions.
If a spouse refuses or fails to remit the required alimony, a judge may find the delinquent spouse in contempt of court. This means that the judge has the authority to give a court order for the spouse to remit the money owed – with the option to add a fine should they continue to refuse to pay. A continued refusal to comply may cause the court to require jail time in certain circumstances.
A court has the authority to bypass the paying spouse by issuing an order requiring the paying spouse’s employer to a) withhold a portion of their income and b) send it directly to the receiving spouse.
This approach ensures a consistent and reliable stream of alimony payments.
Writ of Execution
A writ of execution refers to a court order allowing an enforcement officer to seize the debtor’s property (bank account, property, etc.) to pay outstanding debt. In this instance, the seized funds are remitted in payment for the delinquent alimony.
The above-noted legal actions offer viable paths to require a reluctant ex-spouse to meet court-ordered alimony payments set forth by divorce documents.
The Role of an Experienced Attorney
Having an attorney who specializes in family law and alimony enforcement is crucial when facing non-compliance with court-ordered alimony. They can provide valuable guidance and expertise throughout the process.
Your attorney will investigate the paying spouse’s claims of inability to pay and work to ensure that they are not attempting to evade their financial responsibilities. They can draft legally binding agreements for temporary solutions if there are valid reasons for non-payment.