What Happens if My Ex Stops Paying Alimony?

Not paying alimony can have serious consequences. The court may take action to ensure spousal support payments are paid, like garnishing wages or placing a lien on property. Non-payment can lead to a contempt of court charge, resulting in fines or jail time. Alimony must be paid in full and on time. If you’re having difficulty making payments, contact the court to discuss alternatives.

For more information on legal options concerning the enforcement of future payments of alimony awards, please contact the team at Greenville Family Attorneys. Call us at (864) 475-9393 to schedule a free consultation.

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What is Alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is money paid by one spouse to their former partner after a legal separation or divorce settlement. It is meant to provide financial support while the other spouse transitions to living on their own.

Alimony can be either temporary or permanent and can be court-ordered spousal support or voluntary. In some cases, alimony payments in South Carolina are required for an indefinite period.

What Happens if My Ex Stops Paying Alimony?

If your ex stops paying alimony, it may have serious consequences for both of you. In many states, failure to pay overdue payments of alimony is considered a crime, and if your ex fails to make payments for a certain period, they may face a motion for contempt, jail time, or other legal penalties.

Additionally, the court could also take action against your ex by garnishing their wages or revoking their driver’s license. If this happens, your ex may have to leave their job or be unable to work in certain industries due to the license restriction.

Finally, if your ex is behind on payments, you can take them back to court and ask for a judgment against them for the unpaid alimony.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears

Collecting spousal support can be challenging when payments are missed. Follow these steps to collect arrears.

  • Contact your ex-spouse’s employer to notify them of the court order and request wage garnishment for unpaid alimony.
  • Hire a collections agency or attorney to take legal action for unpaid debts, which could lead to a lien on their assets.
  • If your ex-spouse doesn’t pay, you can file a motion for contempt of court, which could result in fines or jail time.

What the Family Court Does When Alimony Isn’t Paid

If you’re not getting alimony, you can ask the court for help. They can make the person pay through legal remedies by taking their wages or tax refunds, or even putting them in jail.

money for alimony on a wooden table

Contempt of Court

Not paying an alimony judgment after divorce proceedings can lead to contempt of court. Contempt is when someone disobeys a court order or interferes with the court’s administration of justice. If someone refuses to make the original alimony payments, they can be held in contempt and face penalties like fines or jail time. The court may also order wage garnishment or other measures to ensure payments are made.

Income Withholding

If you fail to make payments on your alimony, the court may order income withholding to make sure that your ex-spouse receives the funds they are owed. Income withholding is a process whereby money can be taken directly from your wages or other income sources to pay alimony.

Your employer will receive a notice from the court directing them to withhold a specific amount of money from each paycheck. This money will then be sent to your ex-spouse, and you will be responsible for any fees charged by the employer for administering the income withholding.

Writ of Execution

A Writ of Execution is a court order that allows the sheriff or other court-appointed officer to seize property in a debtor’s possession and sell it to collect money owed. This may be used if someone does not pay their alimony. The Writ of Execution will authorize the sheriff to seize any real estate, physical property, furniture, or personal items owned by the debtor. The sheriff will then publish notice of the sale and proceeds will be used to pay off the alimony debt.

Judgment and Interest

If you don’t pay your alimony, the court may enter a judgment against you. This is a legal document that states how much you owe in unpaid alimony and any associated costs such as interest and attorney fees. The court can collect the judgment by garnishing wages or bank accounts, seizing assets, and pension plans, or placing liens on property. Once the court enters a judgment, it may also assess interest on the unpaid debt.

Can Bankruptcy Affect Alimony Payments?

The short answer is yes, bankruptcy can affect alimony payments. Bankruptcy may be able to provide some protection from creditors, but it does not absolve a person from the obligation of paying alimony. The court will still determine whether or not alimony should be paid and how much should be paid.

When filing for bankruptcy, an individual must list all of their creditors which includes the person receiving alimony payments. When filing for bankruptcy, a court will look at all of the individual’s assets and liabilities to determine if they should be discharged or not. Alimony payments can be included in this process and may be reduced or eliminated, depending on the circumstances.

Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Greenville Family Law

If you do not pay your alimony, the court can take various measures to collect the alimony payments that are owed. Depending on the state and the specific circumstances of your case, these measures can include wage garnishments, bank account levies, or liens on property or assets.

The experienced Greenville alimony lawyers at our firm can help you navigate the complex alimony process and ensure that all of your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process.

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