How to Enforce Alimony Payments in New York
When a judge awards alimony to a former spouse, it is a legally enforceable court order that must be fulfilled. Despite this, it is all too common for individuals to fall behind on spousal support payments. If you stopped receiving alimony from your former spouse, you may need to take action to have the payments enforced.
The first step in handling missed alimony payments, is to reach out personally or through your attorney to your former spouse. It may be possible that the other person was laid off at work or is sick or injured. If a major illness, injury or change in financial status renders a spouse unable to make payments, a reevaluation of the alimony amount may be needed. However, if your spouse is fully able to afford alimony payments, yet refuses to send support your way, you may need to go to court.
Enforcing alimony payments in court
Once you have determined a need to enlist the court’s help, it is essential that you consult with your attorney for advice on filing out the proper paperwork and appearing before a judge. There is not one, standardized method of enforcing alimony court orders, however, most judges will consider the disobeying spouse to be in contempt of court. This means, in addition to paying the overdue alimony funds, the spouse could be fined. If the spouse still refuses to pay alimony, the court can issue a jail sentence to the spouse for ignoring court orders.
Separately, some judges may issue an income withholding order to the spouse’s employer. This order requires the employer to pull the alimony amount from the spouse’s paychecks and give it directly to the receiving partner. Individuals who are not receiving support can ask the court for an income withholding order at any time after the divorce, even if it is not included in your settlement.
To learn more about enforcing spousal support payments after a divorce, meet with a knowledgeable family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates today.