Alimony or spousal support is a specific monetary figure that is designed to help support the other spouse after a divorce. The figure is determined by the court and is based on several different variables: the lifestyle of the spouse, their age or health, their income, and even one’s education. Other spouses can determine the promised amount outside the court, and then include it in the divorce to make it official.
However, what if your ex-spouse stops paying alimony? The first thing to do is communicate with your ex-spouse and find out what happened. Perhaps they lost their job, were injured, or another legitimate issue delayed their payments. Another thing to do is to hire a knowledgeable alimony lawyer to answer any questions, and, more importantly, to help prepare yourself in case you are forced to take your spouse to court. Also, in some cases, couples can settle the issue outside of legal proceedings simply by communicating. They can also work on a new agreement of spousal support payments that the court can recognize.
Pursuing Legal Action
If all else fails, and you must pursue legal action, there are many options available to you. In New Jersey, because divorce decrees and alimony are decided in court, the spouse who fails to pay alimony can be held in contempt of court for violating this agreement. If a judge decided that your spouse is in contempt, then they can be forced to pay what is owed, pay additional fines, give up income or real estate, and even be brought to jail.
Other options involve an income withholding order on your ex-spouse if they are working and are not self-employed. This judgement allows you to be paid straight from your ex-spouse’s paycheck. If they happen to be unemployed, you can have a judge force them to look for work and pay back what they owe you. A deciding judge may also award you a portion of your spouse’s investments or bank accounts if any exist. They could also be forced to pay interest if it is an ongoing issue, as well as your attorney’s fees and court fees.