One of the most divisive issues many divorcing couples face is alimony. Usually, it is awarded to the low-income-earning spouse, which helps ensure divorce doesn’t lead to one spouse becoming impoverished.
Unfortunately, in some cases, ex-spouses refuse to make these payments. So, what do you do if your ex has stopped paying the ordered amount? Thankfully, Pennsylvania family courts take alimony seriously, and there are some things you can do.
How do you enforce alimony payments?
There are several remedies if your ex has suddenly stopped paying your alimony, including:
Contacting your ex
Although it may sometimes be difficult, it is important to contact your ex about the unpaid alimony to find out why they haven’t paid. Something terrible like an illness, accident or job loss may have caused them to lose part or all their income.
Income withholding orders
Usually, an alimony order starts with an income withholding order. This order requires the employer of the payor to withhold alimony from their paycheck and send it to the supported spouse. However, suppose an income withholding order wasn’t included in the original alimony order, and your ex fails to pay alimony. In that case, you may be able to apply for a court order to ensure payments are made directly to you. Unfortunately, the income withholding order will not work if your ex is self-employed or unemployed.
Going to court
If your ex intentionally refuses to pay alimony despite the divorce agreement, it may be time to head back to court. The court can take some measures to enforce the alimony order. Some of these measures may include:
- Garnishing your spouse’s wages on their bank accounts
- Placing liens against personal or real estate property to ensure you get paid
- Finding your ex in contempt of court and being fined or jailed
- Award you interest on the unpaid balance
- Award legal fees and costs
If your ex has stopped paying you your alimony, this may cause you stress and financial problems after your divorce. For this reason, you should seek legal guidance to help you determine your options.