After you have been awarded alimony, you unfortunately could find that your ex-spouse does not pay it. This could cause you stress or financial problems post-divorce. If your ex-spouse has not made an alimony payment, you should speak with a family law attorney to determine your options.
Your Right to Receive Alimony
When the court makes an order that awards you alimony payments from your ex-spouse, the order is legally enforceable. That means that you have legal remedies to use if you need to collect amounts due to you as stated in the order. These remedies could include, depending on the situation:
- A requirement that your spouse pay the missing amount in a lump sum to you
- Garnishment of your spouse’s wages or levies on his or her bank accounts
- Placement of a lien against real or personal property to secure payment to you
- A required transfer of property title from your spouse to you
- The judge finding your ex-spouse in contempt of court
Your spouse is considered to be in debt to you in the amount of the missing spousal support, which is why liens and garnishments are available as remedies. The court also may have the power to hold your spouse in contempt because he or she did not pay alimony in violation of a court order.
Note that you must file a motion with the court in order to enforce the alimony order, which you can do with your lawyer’s help. The judge decides which remedy or remedies to order.
If you have a contractual agreement like a prenup or a separation agreement that provides for alimony payments, you also can go to court to enforce it. The process is a little different than if you have a court order. Your goal is to enforce the provisions of the contract that you signed.
Get a Lawyer
If you do not already have a divorce lawyer who can help, hire a lawyer who practices family law. You need an advocate on your side who is familiar with local alimony laws. A North Carolina family law lawyer is the right choice if your spouse is late on alimony payments ordered by a North Carolina court.
Once you have a lawyer, your lawyer can advise you about your ability to obtain any missing or late alimony payments. The lawyer will want to review the court order or contract that requires your spouse to make the payments. It may be part of the court order that the judge made when your divorce was finalized. Give a copy of this order to your lawyer. If you do not have the order or do not know how to find it, figure out in which county your divorce took place. This will help your lawyer find the order.
You also will want to go through your records to find out when you received each alimony payment and whether it was on time. Make sure you know which payments were missing or late, and by how much. Talk to your lawyer to further discuss this step. Keeping good records could help if your spouse stops making payments.
If your spouse is having trouble making alimony payments, it’s a good idea not to agree on reduced payments. The proper method for requesting a change in the payment amount is for your spouse to make a formal request to the court. While a request for modification is pending, your spouse should continue making alimony payments to you. Your lawyer can advise you about how to communicate with your spouse if he or she is missing payments.
When you realize that your spouse has not paid alimony to you, it could be stressful. Seek out competent legal advice to evaluate your options for enforcing the alimony order.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you need help with an alimony issue, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.