Just like child custody and child support orders, spousal support orders in Tennessee carry the full weight of the state court system behind them, and any violation—intentional or inadvertent—of the terms of such an order could have serious consequences. Unfortunately, it can still be difficult to enforce an alimony order that your former spouse is not complying with, especially if you are unfamiliar with how state law governs these sorts of situations.
In Hamilton County, spousal support enforcement often requires personal diligence as well as significant legal experience and expertise. A capable alimony attorney could provide both of the latter while working tirelessly to pursue a positive resolution to your unique case, whether that involves out-of-court mediation or formal legal action.
As frustrating as it can be to not receive spousal support payments on time or in the right amount, it is worth emphasizing that not every failure to comply with an alimony order is necessarily antagonistic in nature. In some situations, it can be more productive to contact the delinquent party directly, get an explanation for the missed payment(s), and resolve the matter outside of court through private discussions, professional mediation, or a petition for a post-divorce modification of the original support order.
In other scenarios, though, the paying spouse may simply be unwilling to provide the payments they are supposed to, in which case more concrete legal action may be necessary. Spousal support enforcement of this type in Hamilton County typically centers around a petition for the delinquent to be held in contempt of court. A petition for a finding of contempt may be granted if the petitioning party can prove the following:
If the delinquent spouse was not able to fulfill their support obligations when they were due but is capable of paying them when the petition is filed, the case may proceed in civil court. If the delinquent spouse was always capable of paying but just refused to comply with the order, this would be a criminal process.
The sanctions that may be part of the Hamilton County spousal support enforcement vary slightly depending on whether the proceedings are considered civil or criminal in nature. Someone found civilly liable for violating an alimony order may be incarcerated in jail until they make the required payments, whereas criminal proceedings could carry jail time regardless of whether the delinquent spouse pays up or not. The court may also impose additional sanctions like wage garnishments or asset forfeiture to ensure the delinquent party fulfills their obligations.
Getting the support you are owed can be a much more challenging process than you might expect if your former partner deliberately ignores their court-ordered responsibility. Even if you have substantial evidence that they violated the terms of your alimony order, you still may need to go through lengthy and complicated legal proceedings to get assistance from the court system in obtaining the payments you need.
Guidance from seasoned legal counsel can be vital every step of the way through Hamilton County spousal support enforcement. Call today to schedule a consultation with a dedicated attorney.