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How to handle it when an ex isn't paying spousal support

Getting the court to order your ex-spouse to pay support was only part of the battle -- now you have to actually collect on it.

That's not always easy to do. Some ex-spouses see spousal support as "not their problem" the moment that they're no longer married -- they can get so fixated on their ex and what their ex might be doing with "their" money that they forget that they're violating a court order.

In other cases, an ex may be willing to pay, but unable. You run into that situation a lot if a spouse has a major drug or drinking problem, gambling addiction or some sort of mental health problem. Your ex may not be able to keep a job long enough to make a support payment.

What are your choices?

Essentially, it depends on whether you believe your ex is purposefully trying to avoid paying or not.

1. If he or she is simply incapable of paying, you can try to come to a private arrangement that lets you accept what your spouse can offer -- you can even make the leniency contingent on your spouse heading to rehab or showing you good-faith attempts to find work if you want (with the threat of court hanging over his or her head if he or she fails to comply).

2. You can take him or her to court. Generally speaking, the judge has a few different options that can be used to shake your ex's wallet loose from his or her pocket. Sometimes the summons to court alone will do it. For others, threats of fines, wage garnishments and jail time may be necessary.

3. If your spouse simply has had a change in circumstances that makes the previously ordered support seem unfair -- consider mediation. Mediation can be a cost-effective way to settle a dispute -- but only if both of you walk into the room willing to negotiate with nobody being a clear winner or loser.

An attorney can provide advice on how to handle the situation when an ex is struggling (or avoiding) alimony payments

Source: FindLaw, "What to Do If Ex-Spouse Won't Pay Support?," Aditi Mukherji, accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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Pilka & Associates, P.A.
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Phone: 863-236-9321
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