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What Happens if My Ex-Spouse Stops Paying Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal support is commonly awarded in a divorce when one spouse makes substantially less than the other or was not working during the marriage to provide care for any children. If you were awarded spousal maintenance as part of your divorce settlement and your former spouse fails to fulfill this important obligation, however, you may be experiencing financial difficulties. There are ways to enforce a court order for spousal maintenance, but it is crucial to hire a knowledgeable family law attorney to guide you through the process.

Enforcing the Spousal Maintenance Order

If your spouse fails to pay spousal maintenance, you should try to find out why. You may be able to work out an agreement if he or she truly cannot make payments. Make sure you hire an attorney to draft your agreement, so you have it in writing and are fully protected. However, if your spouse simply refuses to pay alimony for other reasons besides the inability to pay, you will need to take the matter to court and file a motion to have it enforced.

If successful, the court has a lot of discretion when it comes to punishment. Below are some of the following remedies:

  • The court may find your former spouse in contempt, for which the punishment is an order to pay for missed payments as well as an additional fine. If your ex still refuses to comply with the court order, the judge may order jail time.
  • If your spousal maintenance order included an income withholding provision, your spouse’s income may be withheld to ensure you receive what you are owed.
  • A judge may award you a portion of your former spouse’s assets, including bank accounts or CDs.
  • If your former spouse is substantially behind on spousal maintenance payments, you can ask the court to issue a money judgment for the amount owed, plus interest. It may also be possible to receive reimbursement for the attorney fees you incurred in pursuit of your spouse’s missed spousal maintenance payments.

Do not hesitate to seek legal representation if your spouse refuses to pay spousal maintenance.

Reach Out to an Experienced Family Law Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need

If your former spouse stopped paying spousal maintenance, you will need a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side to ensure the court order is enforced. At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, our family law team is experienced in handling such delicate matters and will fight for the best possible results on your behalf.

Call our law office today at (718) 215-0121 to set up an initial consultation with a skilled member of our team to discuss your case.