Divorce is a dreaded fact of many people’s lives, for both partners. It happens for several reasons and comes with several more repercussions, the most crucial of which is paying alimony. The spouse with more financial security and earnings pays the one who earns less or nothing, a certain amount specified by the court or as part of a mutual agreement. Not all parties are happy about the payment. Many people detest paying alimony.

There are several reasons people fall behind on paying alimony. The spouse might have lost a job or suffered a medical emergency or undergone a huge expenditure which might have exhausted his or her funds. These are valid reasons for the inability to pay alimony at regular intervals. There are several ways in which the paying spouse can save himself from the blame of not giving his spouse’s right.


Before engaging in a blame game with your spouse, it is important that you understand why your spouse was unable to pay the alimony amount. A little bit of understanding and communication can sort several crucial matters in minutes. If your spouse is truly incapable of temporarily paying the alimony then you should work out an agreement which reduces or suspends the alimony till the spouse can get back to work. Hiring an attorney to draft the agreement so that both parties’ rights are protected, is important.

Asset Seizure

When the paying spouse disobeys the order of paying alimony they are violating court orders. Courts follow a lot of discretion about what punishments or fines to impose on such spouses. A judge may order such a spouse’s persnal financial estate to be confiscated and used as alimony payments. Courts use a wide discretion when it comes to extracting alimony payments.

Wage Garnishment

If the paying spouse does not pay alimony, then the court might order the money to directly be extracted from their regular paycheck. The paying spouse’s employer will be instructed to withhold the alimony amount from their paycheck and send it directly to the supported spuse. This arrangement guarantees that alimony is paid promptly and regularly. If the original alimony order did not include an income withholding provision, then the supported spouse should consider asking the court to insert one. But these orders don’t work with self-employed or unemployed paying spouses. Self-employed individuals can set up a trust account which can be accessed by both parties, especially in case when the supported spouse does not receive alimony. The paying spouse can also be ordered by the judge to look for a job or start a business based on his or her capabilities.

The court can also award the supported spouse a part of the paying spouse’s bank accounts or CDs or other assets which were declared at the time of divorce arrangement. If the paying spouse owes a substantial amount, he can be asked by the court for a money judgement. In this, the total amount owed, along with interest, will be reimbursed to the supported spouse, along with the attorney’s fees which were incurred in an attempt to acquire the alimony payments.

Possible Arrest or License Suspension/Revocation

In a no-show or no-payment, the paying spouse can be legally threatened and his or her passport and driver’s license can be confiscated, thus disallowing him or her from going about regular business.

Therefore, it is crucial to come up with a full-proof alimony plan, instead of a weak one. Both parties should closely and carefully examine all conditions and hold themselves liable for non-completion of any condition. Both parties should also account for each other and ensure that there is a civil exchange so that there is no  legal trouble that requires a lawyer to encounter in the future.

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