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When Alimony Isn’t Paid: Your Rights and Obligations in MA
When your ex-spouse fails to make his or her alimony payments to you, going back to divorce or family court should be the first step you take to remedy the situation. You when doing so, you should enlist the help of an experienced family law—divorce lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
You will need to present evidence to the court showing that your ex-spouse has not made his or her alimony payments, has not made them in full, or has not made them in a timely manner. A knowledgeable family law – divorce lawyer can assist you in collecting written proof of late or partial payment of and explain to the court how your ex-spouse’s actions are causing unnecessary financial hardship.
If your ex-spouse isn’t paying or is behind in court-ordered alimony, you don’t have to sit idle and wait. Call us at 781-729-3999 to find out how the Law Offices Of Richard Mucci can help you.
Alimony Enforcement in Massachusetts
If your ex-spouse isn’t paying you the court-ordered alimony you should be receiving, you have several legal options to choose from. First, if you haven’t already done so, you can go back to Family Court and file a motion asking the judge to enforce the court order.
Once a court order has been issued regarding alimony, it must be paid. If your ex-spouse refuses to pay or is behind in paying you, there are several enforcement measures the court can take to make them pay, including:
- Wage garnishment – garnishment is a court order that directs a person’s employer to deduct a portion of that individual’s paycheck and send it directly to the person to whom they owe a debt. If your ex-spouse is employed, this can guarantee that you will receive the payments that you are due.
- Writ of Execution – this is a court order in which the judge orders some of your ex-spouse’s property to be seized to pay you what you are owed. Liens may be placed on their other property. Then when he or she sells the property, the sales proceeds will be applied towards what you are owed.
- Incarceration – To collect unpaid alimony, you may have to go to court multiple times. Your ex-spouse may continue to disregard the court and your divorce decree or alimony order. When this is the case, the court will likely charge your ex with contempt of court for willfully failing to pay alimony and he or she can be fined or jailed for a short period, or until they pay.
- Tax refund intercept – Your ex-spouse’s federal and state tax refunds and any lottery winnings they receive can be intercepted to pay the unpaid alimony you are owed.
- Driver’s license suspension – Your ex-spouse’s driver’s license can be suspended by the state. In addition, he or she may be ineligible to obtain fishing, boating, and other government-issued licenses.
Mediating Alimony Disputes
When couples get divorced or have a dispute regarding a family law matter, they have the right to have the issue determined by a judge or by coming to a mutual agreement, often with the help of a qualified mediator. Mediation is an alternative to going to court to resolve issues pertaining to divorce.
In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a professional mediator, who helps you negotiate all of the issues that need to be resolved in order to settle your dispute. Once you and your spouse have completed mediation and come to an agreement, that agreement must be reviewed by a judge, who (if he or she approves of the terms of the agreement), will issue a new spousal support order that reflects the terms of the mediated agreement.
Why Consult an Experienced Massachusetts Family Law—Divorce Lawyer?
Alimony arrangements are not binding unless they are set forth in a court order. Likewise, any subsequent changes to those arrangements must also be set forth in a court order. You and your spouse cannot unilaterally or bilaterally change the terms of court-ordered alimony without getting those changes approved and decreed by a court. This is where an experienced family law attorney comes in.
If your ex-spouse isn’t paying or is behind on paying you court-ordered alimony, do not attempt to deal with it yourself. Contact an experienced family law—divorce lawyer who can persuade the court to begin collection actions against your ex-spouse as soon as possible.
The Law Offices Of Richard Mucci can explain your rights and obligations and assist you with enforcing them in a Massachusetts family court. If you have an alimony order or any other court order from a Massachusetts family court that needs enforcing, feel free to contact us at 781-729-3999 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Massachusetts family law—divorce lawyer who can help.