Sadly, it is not uncommon for a legal divorce to end on poor terms. While a divorce is designed to formally end the relationship between two people, you will likely need to deal with your ex-spouse again in the future.
One of the more common reasons why is spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance in Texas). Payments from one spouse to the other can become a point of contention that lasts for years.
Sometimes, the problems begin right at the outset. Because many divorces are messy and contentious, spousal support often isn’t paid in full or on time, even after the judge explains the paying spouse’s obligations.
So, what can you do if you run into problems related to court ordered spousal support not paid by your ex? Learn about this situation and your options to receive what you are entitled to.
Consequences of Court Ordered Spousal Support Not Paid
When a court orders someone to pay spousal support, that order is not optional. The person who is ordered to pay must provide spousal support payments on time until the end date of the order. If they don’t, they may be punished by the court.
A judge can find the paying spouse in contempt of court if they do not make payments or stop making payments. The punishment for contempt of court can be anything from a fine to jail time, and the judge will decide the punishment based on the severity of the violation.
Does This Mean You Just Wait for a Court to Act?
No, a court will not act to enforce spousal support payments unless you tell the court what is happening. The best way to do this is to work with family law attorneys, such as our team at Parker & Aguilar, as soon as there is a problem.
Our attorneys have years of experience handling difficult situations where ex-spouses do not pay. Whether your former spouse never started making payments or stopped making payments, we can file a motion with the court to enforce the spousal support.
Spousal Support Enforcement Options in Texas
How do you enforce a spousal support order in Texas? There are several available options to force your ex to pay support.
1. Typically, the court will order your ex-spouse’s employer to withhold wages (known as wage garnishment). This money is transferred to you directly through the Texas Attorney General’s Office. This means your ex can’t avoid paying, even if they want to.
You are also entitled to receive back payment for missed payments. Our attorneys can help you collect what you are owed.
2. Another option the court might consider is changing the order. In some cases, a spouse may have difficulty getting their finances organized after a divorce and cannot meet their obligations right away.
If your ex has a compelling and substantial argument, the court may push the start date of payments. You will still be entitled to the same amount of money, but there could be a delay in when you begin receiving payments.
3. Perhaps monthly payments are not the right fit for your ex-spouse. If your ex-spouse has the means, the court might order a one-time payment for the full amount of court ordered support. This would end the financial relationship between you and your ex.
4. The court can also take additional measures to enforce the order, such as requesting a hold on certain assets (such as a bank account) or taking other action to compel your ex to provide you with spousal support payments.
– Overall, any changes to the spousal agreement must be approved by a Texas court. If your ex-spouse tries to negotiate a change with you on the side, let us know right away. Our attorneys will inform the court, and your ex-spouse may be found in contempt of court.
Why Do You Need a Family Law Attorney?
Unfortunately, there are times when ex-spouses delay or stop making payments to test the system. They hope they can fly under the court’s radar, while giving you reasons why they cannot make payments, hoping you won’t consult an attorney. But, this situation highlights exactly why you should work with a family law attorney.
We can help you push through a logjam of family law cases in the county where you live to enforce the original order, helping you receive what the court ordered. Our lawyers know how to navigate the Texas legal system as efficiently as possible.
Without a lawyer, you could jeopardize your right to receive payments, especially if you agree to a side deal with your ex-spouse while they sort out their financial situation. Because a side deal is not legally binding, if your ex stops paying, the court may not have sympathy for your situation.
At best, this type of unfortunate situation could set you back months in payments as the court sorts through this new challenge. At worst, it could mean you do not receive the money you are owed.
Court Ordered Spousal Support Not Paid? Call Parker & Aguilar
Getting money from a stubborn ex isn’t easy. We can help by filing a motion with the court to enforce the original order. We understand what evidence needs to be provided to help the court rule in your favor.
If your ex-spouse has missed a court ordered payment, is consistently late with payments, or simply stopped making payments, don’t wait to act. The team at Parker & Aguilar will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive every dime you are owed as quickly as possible.
We currently support spouses in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact us today to discuss your situation.
You can reach our offices at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with one of our helpful attorneys.
You shouldn’t have to fret about court ordered spousal support not paid on time. Get in touch with us to protect your rights.