If your ex-spouse has been ordered to pay alimony to you and refuses, you may have to file a contempt of court petition to get it paid. Unlike child support, alimony isn’t subject to wage garnishment or the other typical types of collection efforts. Forced payment of owed alimony must come from a court order which starts with a contempt of court proceeding.
Although owed alimony is usually a civil contempt issue, there are several different things that can happen during the proceedings. Usually, the court will let both parties be heard on the issue. For a person who owes back alimony, a valid reason why it has not been paid should be presented. If the individual does not have a valid reason, the court may find them in contempt and can force the payment by court order.
While contempt of court is one primary way of getting back alimony paid, there are several other resources available to individuals that are owed alimony. Mediation is a commonly used method of problem-solving that may be best for individuals looking to avoid a courtroom setting. If you believe your ex is simply choosing to not pay alimony, versus having a financial reason not to, you may want to take your case to small claims court.
For help deciding how to pursue owed alimony, an experienced divorce attorney may be able to help. Whether through contempt proceedings, mediation or small claims court, having the skills and knowledge of a divorce attorney on your side, may make the process faster and easier.