Ways to Enforce an Alimony Order

You may walk out of court feeling good about the alimony payments that a judge has ordered your ex-spouse to pay. That fact, however, is that there’s no guarantee you’ll receive those payments. Your former spouse needs to honor that legal agreement, although plenty do not. However, there are many ways to enforce an alimony order to ensure that you get the support you need following your divorce. A divorce lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga can help you get the money that is rightfully yours following your divorce.

Contempt of Court

If you have court-ordered alimony and it’s not being paid, a Contempt of Court motion may be filed. This procedure is generally used when it is believed that the ex-spouse has the means to pay but flat out refuses to do so. The ex-spouse will be called to defend himself or herself, even if they have left the jurisdiction in which the divorce was filed. Judges overseeing the case have the power to jail the former spouse for non-compliance until payments are made.

Wage Garnishment

Another solution is to petition to have your ex-spouse’s wages garnished. Federal law limits the amount of wages that may be garnished at 25%. California law, however, may increase that percentage to up to 50% depending on your circumstances, the circumstances of your ex-spouse, and your divorce agreement. The Consumer Credit Protect Act will protect your former spouse from being dismissed from his or her job because of wage garnishment.

Private Collection Agency

Retaining the services of a private collection agency is another way to enforce an alimony order. Many support collectors provide services to those who are owed alimony or child support. Note, however, that those services usually come with a 30% fee. Make sure that you thoroughly investigate the collection agency in which you are interested before retaining its services. Select one that has available legal assistance, if necessary.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Another, little-known way to get the alimony money that is your legal right is to file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This order will help you get money from your ex-spouse’s retirement plans. It does so by creating an alternate payee’s right, namely you, to receive proceeds from the plan. This order is applicable to a number of different retirement plan types including 401Ks, 403Bs and other ERISA plans. The order may not be applied to traditional IRAs.