Enforcing Florida Alimony Orders
Oftentimes, one of the most contentious issues in a Florida divorce is the matter of spousal support, also known as alimony. Alimony is payment from one spouse to another that assists with maintaining a standard of living and with transitioning to financial independence during and after the divorce. However, sometimes a spouse refuses to pay the agreed upon or court ordered alimony, and many people do not know what to do in this situation. At the law office of Blair H. Chan, III, our office is here to help enforce alimony payments in the Tampa Bay area. Call or contact our office today to learn more.
Go Back to Court
The first step in enforcing an alimony order is to return to court. Ask the judge to enforce the order, and he will make your former spouse appear to answer why the alimony has not been paid. If your former spouse still refuses to pay the owed spousal support, the judge may hold them in civil contempt, which can include jail time and substantial fees, until the alimony is paid.
If collecting owed alimony is a recurring issue, another option is to seek a wage garnishment or income withholding order. If granted by the court, a wage garnishment order is sent to your former spouse’s employer who is legally obligated to withhold a portion of each paycheck to pay spousal support. That money is sent directly to the spouse owed support or through a designated third party without ever going to the former spouse.
An income withholding order can be placed on any wages, salary, commissions, and other sources of revenue like tax returns or lottery winnings. However, it is important to note that some revenue streams like Social Security and unemployment benefits are not subject to wage garnishment orders. However, there are other options for collecting unpaid alimony in Florida.
Utilizing Other Collection Methods
If contempt of court and wage garnishment are not successfully collecting the spousal support you are owed, there are other methods of collection that can be utilized in Florida. One option is to place liens on your former spouse’s real estate and personal property, which requires the amount of alimony in arrears to be paid from the sale before any profits can be collected. A judge can also order a writ of execution, which allows the sale of personal property and real estate by the county sheriff. The proceeds of the sale are then used to pay the alimony in arrears. Professional and state licenses can also be suspended as inducement to pay any owed spousal support, and an experienced lawyer can review these options with you to determine what methods are best for collecting alimony in your case.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
Are you having trouble collecting alimony from your former spouse? If so, contact a Tampa family lawyer at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule a free consultation of your case.