Alimony Enforcement

Alimony is a type of spousal support that can be court ordered after a divorce. The point of alimony is to alleviate any economic disparity between the two former spouses after they dissolve their marriage. The payments can help one spouse transition out of dependency until they are self-sufficient.

In a perfect world, everyone would respect the court by paying their alimony on time. Unfortunately, many people suffer because their ex-partner’s refuse to pay alimony. If you or someone you know hasn’t been receiving their alimony payments, it’s imperative you contact an experienced family law attorney.

Attorney for Alimony Enforcement in Broward County, Florida

Alimony may be agreed upon in the courtroom, but your former spouse could have other plans. They could submit payments much later, try to avoid payments by moving addresses or refuse to pay alimony altogether. If this happens, it’s important you’re prepared with quality legal representation. 

You can call Bacchus Law Firm to set up an appointment with a skilled divorce attorney. Nisha E. Bacchus is a reputable lawyer with years of divorce practice. She can help you receive the alimony you deserve with her extensive resources and knowledge. Call (954) 500-5555 today and set up a free consultation. 

Bacchus Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.

Overview of Alimony Enforcement in Florida

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Types of Alimony in Florida

Florida is unique because it has multiple types of alimony listed under its statutes. Each type serves a specific purpose and has its pros and cons. Listed below are the different kind of alimony seen in Florida court rooms. 

  • Bridge-The-Gap Alimony – This type of alimony is for people who want to transition from married to single life. It’s normally short-term payments or in one lump sum. Bridge-the-gap alimony cannot extend past two years.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony – The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to help the other spouse become self-sufficient. It focuses on redeveloping previous skills or giving the other spouse access to education, training or work experience necessary to enter their desired field. Rehabilitative alimony can only be awarded if there’s a specific rehabilitative plan which details how the other spouse will get back on their feet.
  • Durational Alimony – Durational alimony serves a solution between permanent and rehabilitative alimony. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide the other spouse economic help for a short period of time until they’re independent. You’re not required to chart out a rehabilitative plan for durational alimony. The payments will stop once the other spouse is remarried. The alimony, however, cannot extend past the length of the marriage.
  • Lump-Sum Alimony – In some cases, the court will grant one spouse a lump sum as alimony. It can also be sued to equalize any asset distribution which was unfair during divorce proceedings.
  • Temporary Alimony – Alimony doesn’t have to extend for a long period of time. Some people choose to have temporary alimony. The payments for temporary alimony will have an expiration date and will only cover the spouse until divorce proceedings are over.
  • Permanent Alimony – It’s much more difficult to obtain permanent alimony, but it’s possible. If one spouse hasn’t worked or has a significantly lower income, the court may grant permanent alimony, so they can maintain their lifestyle. Normally, permanent alimony is given for long-term marriages ending in divorce. The court defines a long-term marriage as greater than 17 years in length. It can also be court ordered in medium and short-term marriages, but it’s very rare.

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How Does Florida Enforce Alimony?

It’s incredibly stressful to survive after divorce if you were financially dependent on your spouse. That is why it’s imperative you act if you’re not receiving alimony payments. Florida law allows different enforcement procedures to be used in case your spouse refuses to pay alimony. These methods of alimony enforcement include: 

  • Civil Contempt – Technically, alimony is a court order given during divorce proceedings. Failure to obey a court order can result in a contempt charge. If your ex-spouse had the ability to pay and chose not to, then you can pursue an action of contempt. The court will schedule a hearing to address the contempt issue and a judge will decide what to do next. Your ex-spouse could face penalties including time in jail and expensive fines.
  • Judgement Lien – You can pursue a judgement lien in the event your ex-spouse refused to pay alimony. A lien is essentially the right to possess property belonging to another until they pay their debt. So, you can attempt to enter a lien which can garnish your ex-spouse’s wages or levy their bank account.
  • Writ of Execution – You can also pursue a writ of execution, which is a court order where the Sheriff’s Office can seize and sell certain property belonging to your ex-spouse. The property could range from land, buildings, boats, jewelry or even livestock. Some property is excluded from writ of execution, however, such as the payments to your ex-spouse’s home.
  • Writ of Garnishment – Another method is to get a court order for a writ of garnishment. In this type of enforcement, your alimony will be taken straight from your ex-spouse’s paycheck. It can even be court ordered to be “continuing,” which means your alimony will be taken from your ex-spouse’s wage for every payment.

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What if My Alimony Wasn’t Court-Ordered?

You and your ex-spouse may have simply set up your own terms for alimony. This isn’t common but does happen between couples who divorced amicably. However, this makes it much easier for your ex to stop compensating you. That is why the majority of attorneys would recommend you determine alimony payments in court.

You should first contact your ex-spouse if possible. Ask them why the payments have stopped, if there was a change in circumstance and what you can do moving forward. You may be able to make an agreement with your ex so you’re able to live independently.

In some cases, this doesn’t work. If your ex-spouse is dodging you, it’s recommended you speak to an attorney. Your attorney can take legal action so your ex-spouse will be court-ordered to pay you and make up their past-due payments. In some cases, just acting legally is enough for the other spouse to wise up and continue their payments.

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Additional Resources

Alimony Laws in Florida – Visit the official website of the Florida Senate to learn more about alimony. Access the statute to learn what factors go into determining alimony, details on the different types of alimony and where to submit payments.

Florida Alimony Petition Forms – Visit the official website of the Florida Courts to access their supplemental modification petitions or alimony forms. View the form by downloading it in PDF form to see what is needed to prove you’re in need of spousal support.

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Lawyer for Alimony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you are entitled to alimony payments but aren’t receiving them,  it’s crucial you get in touch with a family law attorney. You can receive your past payments and future payments by enforcing your alimony with quality legal representation. Your ex-spouse could face contempt in court, experience judgement liens or have their property or wages seized.

Contact Bacchus Law Firm for assistance on alimony enforcement. Attorney Nisha E. Bacchus not only understands but has an in-depth knowledge of how alimony functions. She can help you get the payments you deserve. Call now at (954) 500-5555 to set up a consultation. 

Bacchus Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Hollywood, Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines and Miramar.

This article was last updated on June 6, 2019.