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What happens if an ex won’t pay alimony?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Alimony

Alimony is a court-ordered financial support payment made by one spouse to the other after a divorce or separation. However, some ex-spouses may default on payments, which may cause financial strain for the recipient. When this happens, the recipient of alimony can take legal action to enforce the court order.

If the recipient of alimony sues an ex-spouse for non-payment, the courts may take several actions to enforce the alimony order. Here are some of the possible actions the courts may take in this case.

Garnishing wages

If an ex-spouse is unwilling to pay alimony, the courts may compel the employer to deduct the owed alimony directly from the ex-spouse’s wages. This will ensure the recipient receives the alimony owed without relying on the ex-spouse’s willingness to pay.

Contempt of court

If the non-paying ex-spouse is found to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with the alimony order, they may face fines, penalties, or even imprisonment. Contempt of court is a serious offense, and the courts have the authority to impose sanctions to compel compliance with court orders.

Modification of the alimony order

In some cases, if the non-paying ex-spouse can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances, such as a significant decrease in income, they may petition the court for a modification of the alimony order. However, until the court grants a modification, the original alimony order remains in effect, and the non-paying ex-spouse is still obligated to make payments according to that order.

Asset seizure

If an ex-spouse consistently fails to pay alimony despite legal action, the courts may resort to seizing assets to satisfy the owed payments. This could involve seizing bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate or other valuable assets owned by the non-paying ex-spouse.

If your ex-spouse defaults on alimony payments, consider getting legal guidance to best determine how to proceed based on your specific situation. It’s important to take action promptly to address any financial strain caused by the non-payment of alimony.