If your divorce decree calls for your former spouse to pay alimony, you might depend on those payments to support yourself. You could experience financial stress and hardship if your former spouse does not pay support as the decree directs.
Contact an experienced spousal support attorney if you are not receiving the alimony payments your spouse owes you. A knowledgeable legal professional could explain your Red Bank spousal support enforcement options and help you develop a strategy to obtain the money your former spouse owes you.
If a judge incorporated an order for spousal support in your final divorce decree, your former spouse owes you that money. The order is enforceable even if you and your former spouse negotiated alimony yourselves.
If a spouse falls behind on their support obligations, the first step should be an attempt to identify the issue. If the spouse has temporary financial problems, the receiving spouse might accept a lower payment for a specific time. However, a receiving spouse should consult with a seasoned attorney before making any compromises regarding their alimony.
If the delinquent spouse is not cooperative or the receiving spouse cannot afford to accept less than the court ordered, the receiving spouse could attempt to enforce the spousal support order by filing a petition for enforcement with the Red Bank court. Although going to court should be a last resort, it is often necessary to force compliance with an alimony order.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-5-103 allows an alimony recipient to file an action in court seeking to enforce an alimony order. The spouse could petition the court to find the delinquent spouse in civil or criminal contempt for failing to pay alimony as ordered.
If the receiving party alleges the delinquent party has the resources to pay the alimony arrears but refuses to pay, a proactive lawyer could file a petition for civil contempt. If the receiving party asserts the delinquent party had the funds when the alimony was due but chose not to pay, the petition could seek a criminal contempt finding.
If the judge finds the delinquent spouse willfully refused to pay alimony, the judge could order them to jail until they pay the arrears. However, if the judge finds the delinquent party cannot pay as ordered in the divorce decree, the judge might modify the alimony order and allow the delinquent party to pay less.
Jail is an extreme response to delinquent alimony and could be counterproductive if it prevents a party from earning money to pay the past-due support. The law allows judges to take other steps to compel payment.
A court could require the delinquent spouse’s employer to deduct the alimony payment from their paycheck and distribute the funds to the former spouse. If a substantial amount is in arrears, the judge could order garnishment of the paying party’s wages. A judge could also:
Contempt motions can be complicated, and it is important that they are drafted correctly. A skilled Red Bank attorney could help a spouse enforce an alimony order or defend a spouse against a motion for contempt.
If your former spouse is not making alimony payments as ordered, their disobedience has legal consequences. You could bring a motion to hold them in contempt of court.
You are entitled to the money a judge awarded you. If you are not receiving it, contact a dedicated legal professional for help with Red Bank spousal support enforcement today.