My Ex Isn’t Paying Their Alimony. What Can I Do?
Most people breathe a sigh of relief after signing their divorce papers. Even the easiest of divorces can be stressful and emotionally taxing, so when the divorce is final, people feel like the battle is finally over. If only that were true.
No matter how cordial you are with your ex, if you’re collecting alimony, there is always a chance that they’ll stop paying. Because your alimony or spousal support is court-ordered, you have the right to seek relief from the Court to enforce payment if the payments stop. From our experienced family law attorneys at Oxendine Law, here’s a look at what you should do if your ex stops paying you alimony.
Do Not Try to Collect Money Yourself
First and foremost, don’t try to take matters into your own hands. Chances are that emotions run high between you and your ex. The last thing you want to do is to confront them and end up putting yourself in a legal bind because of what you said or did in the process. No matter how you and your ex typically get along, it’s important to let your family law attorney take the reins instead. We’ll be able to tell you your options and provide the least stressful and most effective ways to get the money you’re owed. Also, don’t enter into “side agreements” to alter the terms. Even though parties’ side agreements are not legally binding (even if in writing!), they can still be brought up as evidence in Court and could have a negative effect on your overall claim for relief and request for damages.
Our attorneys can file a complaint with the Court to hold your ex in contempt for failure to pay. In order for the Court to hold your ex in contempt, they must find that your ex is willfully refusing to pay your alimony, instead of being unable to make the payments due to a change in their financial situation.
If the judge finds that your ex is willfully in contempt, there are several possible remedies the Court can award, and your ex could even go to jail until they comply and pay the money, they owe you. They may also be eligible for a program that allows them to keep working while in jail. Even if the judge finds that your ex isn’t in willful contempt, they will still set forth how your ex is required to make up the missed payments. The Judge can’t waive, reduce or eliminate any payments which have passed if they are subject to a Court Order.
The Next Steps
If you’re like many divorced people, you rely on your spousal support to pay your bills and maintain your financial stability. When those payments suddenly stop, it’s enough to take the rug out from under you. If your ex has stopped paying their court-ordered alimony payments, call our family law attorneys at Oxendine Law to start the collection process.