What do I do if my ex is behind on spousal support payments? 24 Answers as of January 05, 2011

In our divorce my ex agreed to pay a monthly amount for the debt he left me with. After some time he got several months behind, I hired a lawyer and went to court to get the money, plus interest, attorneys fees, etc. He was ordered to double up payments until caught up and the interest and fees were added to his balance. He is behind again. Do I have to hire a lawyer again or can I contact the courts and inform them he is behind again?

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Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
In the State of Oregon, many domestic relations cases may be pursued by a pro se litigant, that being, a party with no attorney. Many of the courts have preprinted forms and family law staff that can help a party fill the paperwork out. It doesn't sound as though you would need an attorney for this matter. If there is a valid court order that your spouse pay a certain amount of spousal support, it would be fairly simple to get a hearing in front of a Judge in order to have the court enforce that order. If you have a need for an attorney, always consult your State Bar Association. They may have modest means or low income attorneys with reduced rates.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/5/2011
The Connelly Firm P.C.
The Connelly Firm P.C. | Thomas Connelly
It sounds like your lawyer did a pretty good job for you the last time. You should call him or her back. You need to file a contempt petition.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 1/5/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
From your question, it would appear that what is owed to you is not Spousal Support, but instead, a monthly installment payment obligation on a debt. There is a significant difference between the two.

Were your ex-husband employed and not paying Court ordered Spousal Support, you could file and serve an Order to Show Cause for Contempt against him, a quasi-criminal proceeding, potentially leading to jail time. However, we don't have "debtors' prison" for failure to pay debts other than support, so if the order is for a monthly installment payment on a debt, you can't seek Contempt remedies against him.

You can't contact the courts and inform them that your ex-husband is behind again, without using an appropriate, recognized legal process.

You may file an Application for Issuance of a Writ of Execution with the Court, and have the Sheriff levy the Writ that is issuedupon your husband's bank account or employer, to collect the amount that is overdue.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/4/2011
Saddleback Law Center
Saddleback Law Center | Paris Kalor
You would have to file for violation of the court order and ask the court to hold him in contempt. This proceeding is a Semi criminal proceeding and if he is found to be in contempt, then he may end up in jail.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/4/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You do not have to use a lawyer, but calling the court is not an option. The only way to address the issue with the Court is through an Order to Show Cause Hearing (OSC). You can file a OSC for arrears, and also for Contempt, if the failure to pay was in any way willful. You can represent yourself.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/4/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The answer to your question is most likely in the last set of orders you got from the Court. Did the Court put your ex on probation or under court supervision? If so, then call the Family Services Coordinator for your County, he or she will take care of it from there. Otherwise, you will need to go through the same process you went through last time - hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law
    Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law | Matthew E. Lax
    You need to do a contempt motion. Since this is a quasi-criminal matter, an attorney's assistance would be advisable. You can contact me at the below contact info if you want to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Froerer and Miles, P.C.
    Froerer and Miles, P.C. | Robert L Froerer
    Hiring an attorney to pursue the delinquent payments may be the best thing to do, especially since it worked the first time. Hopefully, the court awards the cost of your attorney's fees to you as well. Otherwise, you might consider reporting him to a credit reporting agency, but you may not get any real result. If you'd like to discuss this in more detail, please call for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    In New Jersey, a person does not always need to hire a lawyer but one always has to make a written application to the court, known as a motion, that complies with the Rules of Court and the Court's procedural guidelines. Some people feel comfortable about preparing the motion by themselves but most people do not. Sometimes it depends upon the complexity of the application, the amount of money involved, the history of the case, and other factors. Judges will also usually issue an Order to compel the delinquent person to pay the recipient's counsel fees so that should also be a consideration.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    You will need to go back into to Court and ask for enforcement of the previous order. You can probably look at the paperwork you filed first time around, and use it as a model to prepare and file the new motion/OSC.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    You need to file a request to hold your husband in contempt of court for not paying the court order support. You can do it by yourself or have an attorney assist you. You should also consider getting a wage garnishment if possible to insure you receive your support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Simply informing the court will not accomplish anything because the court is not a collection agency. If your ex has the ability to make the required payments and fails to do so he is in contempt of court by wrongfully violating the court's order. To have the court take appropriate action to punish the contempt, you need to formally request the court to issue a contempt citation and conduct a trial to decide whether he is guilty of contempt. That process is a bit more complicated than other aspects of a divorce case so it is best conducted by your attorney, but you can attempt to do it yourself. If you attempt to do it yourself, remember that a crucial element you will have to prove is that he has the ability to make the payments and is simply refusing to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Get your attorney to attach his wages if he is employed or have the court order the money transferred directly from his bank account on date certain.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    There is no simple way to simply call the court. You will have to file a motion with or without an attorney to attempt to collect this debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You have to hire an attorney. The court cannot enforce the orders without you bringing on a motion. You have to bring a motion to enforce payment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC | Bridgette D. Kaczmarek
    You can file a contempt citation against him with the courts. The clerks office at the courthouse can help you file these documents. You do not necessarily need an attorney to file or go to hearing. Just prove he has failed to pay the maintenance as ordered by the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
    You can file a Contempt Petition with the Court
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You will have to bring him back to court again on a contempt motion; this time you may wish to ask for incarceration if he does not comply. If you wish to hire counsel to assist you we do this kind of work. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    The Law Office of David J. Reed, LLC
    The Law Office of David J. Reed, LLC | David J. Reed
    You can always represent yourself; however, it would be best to hire an attorney and bring a contempt action against him. The court may suspend his license, order garnishment from his wages, or a number of other things to get him to comply.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    DiManna Law Office, LLC.
    DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
    You need to file with court and have him found in contempt for the new order or possibly file for a show cause hearing depending on the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/4/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    To enforce support, then yes, you need to go to court. You do not need a lawyer, but I'd strongly suggest that you hire one, as enforcing support is somewhat complex. You don't simply "contact the court" by, for example, sending a letter or just showing up. You have to file appropriate paperwork. Call a local lawyer to assist. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/3/2011
    Law Office of Tim W. Avery
    Law Office of Tim W. Avery | Tim W. Avery
    You cannot simply just call the court to say your husband is behind. You will need to file another enforcement action to bring the matter before the court, and I would advise that you hire an attorney to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/3/2011
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