What to Do If Alimony Payments Stop Unexpectedly

Alimony is a court-ordered financial support mechanism, and it is for those who’ve historically been non-working or part-time working spouses, particularly following a divorce. This support is intended to sustain the living standards they were accustomed to during marriage. However, situations may arise where these payments cease unexpectedly, leading to financial instability. Sometimes, your spouse threatens not to pay or says they will only pay a portion to compensate for perceived wrongdoing. Regardless of the reason, remember that these are court-ordered payments, and there are several ways in which they are enforced. 

Not All Resolutions Go Through A Court 

In California, alimony, or spousal support, is determined under a “no-fault” divorce system, meaning fault in the marriage’s breakdown isn’t considered. The court evaluates various factors, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and contributions to the household, including childcare. If you suddenly stop receiving these court-ordered payments, you should verify the details in the spousal support agreement. This includes checking the duration and amount specified. Frequently, they end after a certain period or when other conditions have been met. For example, if you remarry or decide to move in with someone else, they may end—but this entirely depends on the order. 

Understanding the full context of your agreement is also essential. If payments stop and are not scheduled to end, it might be due to an oversight or financial difficulties your ex-spouse faces. Maintaining records of all received payments and any communication about them is essential. If you believe the payments have stopped unjustifiably, the next step involves direct communication with your ex-spouse to resolve the issue amicably. Keep this interaction documented, as it may be necessary to present it as evidence should further legal steps be needed.

When Legal Action Becomes Necessary

Legal enforcement might be your next recourse if direct communication fails to resolve the issue. Several enforcement options are available in California if an ex-spouse fails to make court-ordered alimony payments. You can speak with your attorney, who will then file a motion in court requesting enforcement of the order. The court can then implement measures such as wage garnishments, where a portion of your ex-spouse’s salary is directly transferred to you, ensuring continuity of payments.

Further consequences for non-payment include interest charges on overdue payments at a rate of 10% APR, seizure of property, or even court orders to redirect tax refunds toward alimony payments. In cases of significant arrears (this refers to an amount of money that is owed and should have been paid earlier), the court might also place liens on the payer’s properties or, in severe cases, order jail time for contempt of court. Remember, these measures are designed to compel compliance with the court order and ensure you receive the financial support you are legally owed.

It’s also worth noting that either spouse can request a modification or termination of alimony if circumstances significantly change, except where expressly forbidden by the original agreement. Modifications can address changes in either spouse’s financial status or other relevant life changes, which need to be formally recognized by the court through a legal process.

Contact A Lawyer To Help You Resolve Your Alimony Issues

Working through disagreements regarding alimony payments can be challenging, but there are several legal options you can pursue to find an appropriate resolution. If you find yourself in a situation where alimony payments have stopped unexpectedly, get professional legal advice. For further assistance and to ensure that your interests are protected, contact The Grey Legal Group. Our team is ready to provide the support and guidance needed to address and resolve issues with your alimony payments.

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The Grey Legal Group

At The Grey Legal Group, we believe in helping all families with their legal needs so they can be protected on your journey back to a calmer, happier place of stability. Whether it is divorce, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, or adoption, we have seen it all before and we can help you through it. With the legal knowledge and experience we bring to the table, we will be certain to find the best and most efficient solution to your situation.

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