How To Collect Unpaid Alimony in California
Alimony is the money payable by the higher income earning party or spouse to the lower income earning party after the couple has separated or divorced. Usually, a family court issues an order stating the amount of alimony or spousal support payable by the financially more stable partner to his or her spouse until the latter can find a better job or marry someone else whichever is earlier.
Remedies available to the aggrieved spouse to whom alimony is payable
In the State of California, the judge considers 13 different circumstances when he has to determine the amount of alimony payable and the period of time for which it will be payable. Spousal and child support is compulsorily payable by the person whose name is mentioned in the court order passed. If the spouse who is supposed to make regular alimony payments fails to do so within the stipulated periods of time, then the other spouse can exercise remedial measures against the defaulting party.
The spouse can first apply to the spousal or child support agency that is handling your case and asks for an enforcement order to be passed. The agency will then calculate the amount of alimony due from the other spouse mentioned in the spousal support order previously passed by the family court and order the same to be paid by the defaulting spouse. The spouse will be required to state his or her reasons as to why the alimony payments were not made on time and will be given a reasonable amount of time to arrange for the money.
What are the more serious steps that can be taken against the defaulting spouse?
The spouse to whom the alimony is payable to is required to keep detailed statements and information about the alimony payments made, time of payments, etc. before initiating any legal action or court proceedings against the other spouse. If the defaulting spouse ignores to make payments after being notified by the spousal or child support agency, the agency can then issue spousal support orders by garnishing bank accounts or wages of the defaulting spouse, seizing his property, suspending his driver’s license and other work licenses. California laws allow these agencies to issue garnishing orders to the spouse and divert state or federal tax refunds.
Last resort remedial measures that can be taken
If after all this the spouse fails to pay the alimony the spousal support agency and the aggrieved spouse can seek to file a wage garnishment, also known as an order for withholding income for support and is available in California. The order is served on the other spouse’s employer, for that employer to garnish the wages for payment of support.
To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.