My Former Spouse Stopped Paying Alimony: How Can I Collect?
In Florida, alimony (spousal support) may be awarded to help the financially disadvantaged partner following a divorce. There are different types of alimony that can be awarded in Florida: including rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, durational, permanent, periodic and temporary.
Many people rely on their alimony payments. If your former partner stopped paying alimony, it can cause a huge financial disruption to your life. Here, our experienced Clearwater alimony lawyer explains what you need to do to collect overdue spousal support.
Was Your Alimony Court Ordered?
To collect overdue alimony, you will need a court order. The first thing that you need to figure out is whether or not you are currently receiving court-ordered alimony or you are receiving alimony as part of an out-of-court settlement agreement. If your former partner is violating a court order, your former partner may already be in contempt of court. A Florida family law judge may order them to pay immediately or be found in criminal contempt. If your alimony is part of an out-of-court agreement, you will need to go to court to enforce the terms of the agreement.
Common Collection Methods for Overdue Alimony
There are several different methods that can be used to collect overdue spousal support. Notably, under Florida law, a court will only enforce collection of alimony if it is determined that the spouse who owes money actually has the ability to pay. If your former partner lost their job, developed a serious medical condition, or has another legitimate reason why they involuntarily lost the ability to pay alimony, the court may excuse them (at least temporarily) from making alimony payments. When a person can pay, but has refused, legal action can be taken. Three of the most common methods to collect overdue alimony are:
- Voluntary Negotiation: If your spouse is late on alimony, you may want to negotiate a new agreement. In some cases, it makes sense for a receiving spouse to voluntarily accept reduced alimony payments. If your former partner has a good reason why they cannot pay, the court may not enforce the original terms of the alimony award; therefore, negotiating a settlement may be the best available option.
- Contempt of Court: If a person can pay alimony, but simply refuses to do so, they can be held in contempt of court. This means they can go to jail for not making payments. Generally, the possibility of contempt of court is sufficient to get people to make the overdue payments if they have the money to do so.
- Wage Garnishment: There are also cases in which wage garnishment can be used to obtain overdue alimony. This legal tool is most frequently used when the spouse who owes alimony is making plenty of money, but lacks enough cash to make the payments on a consistent basis. A Florida court may order a wage garnishment to ensure that alimony is paid on a regular basis.
Contact Our Florida Alimony Attorney Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our legal team has more than two decades of experience handling cases in Florida. If your former spouse stopped paying alimony, we can help you protect your rights. For a private family law consultation, please call us today at 727-584-2528. We represent clients in Largo, Clearwater, and throughout the surrounding communities.