What recourse do I have if my ex-husband decided to stop paying alimony? 17 Answers as of August 16, 2013

I was married to my husband for 27 years and have been divorced for 17 years. It was stated in the divorce decree that he pay me alimony until I remarry, or die, whichever comes first. He has been paying up to now. He now says he has no money and has arbitrarily decided to stop payment.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C. | Jessica M. Cotter
You should consult with an experienced family law attorney to enforce the spousal maintenance order. In Arizona, as I expect in all other states, a party is not allowed to unilaterally stop making court ordered payments. Local counsel can assist you with this action.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/16/2013
Law Office of Robert E McCall | Robert McCall
File an Emergency Motion for Enforcement with the Trial Court.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/15/2013
The Goldberg Legal Group
The Goldberg Legal Group | David Goldberg
You can try to garnish his wages. Otherwise you can file a contempt against him for failing to follow the Court order.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2013
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
You may bring a motion for contempt or seek an order establishing arrears that you can collect through other means.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2013
Buchanan Law & Mediation Center | Terry Anne Buchanan
Support orders remain effective until modified by a subsequent court order. Therefore your ex is accruing arrears of all nonpayments. If your ex does not have money then enforcement will be difficult as from what source of funds can a court require him to pay. If retirement or income payments are being received by your ex you can consider a garnishment order. An attorney can assist with that and relevant motions to the court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2013
    DeBrincat, Padgett, Kobliska & Zick | Mathew Kobliska
    A divorce judgment, like any other form of judgment, can be enforced. You need to know, however, whether your spousal support/alimony is modifiable or non-modifiable. If it is modifiable, then he can file a motion for future modification if the reduction in income was beyond his control. If your judgment provides for non-modifiable spousal support, then it is a collection action. As with any collection action, there needs to be income or assets to attach. An attorney should review your papers and render advice as to your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Burnett Evans Banks
    Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
    Your recourse is to file a Motion for Contempt. Your Ex will be served with an order to appear at a certain date and time and Show Cause why he should not be held in contempt. His failure to pay constitutes contempt of court if he is not paying while having the ability to pay. His defense argument may be that he no longer has the ability to pay, for instance, if he has become involuntarily unemployed or underemployed, has become disabled, or some other reason. Have you asked him for the reason he now has no money, as he states?
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Since you were being paid under a court order your husband could be held in contempt of court if you can prove he had the ability to pay the support when it became due but intentionally refused to pay. You will need a lawyer's help on this so I strongly suggest you meet with a family law attorney in your area. If your ex-husband thinks the order should be modified, he needs to file papers with the court. It is not proper to simply change or ignore court orders.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    File a motion to enforce litigants rights.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You can move to have him held in contempt, but if he has no money, the court will not order him to do something he cannot do.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Go talk to a nasty, smart divorce attorney near you, and take action. Nasty, smart action. Too bad you are not in New Jersey. I could help you. It is hard to find a good divorce lawyer who will fight for you and not charge an obscene amount of your money. Find someone who spends most of their time in divorces. Find someone who has been in court several times this year (2013) in the county courthouse where your divorce will be filed. If they don't go to court often, they are not the lawyer you want. And find someone who has handled at least three or four full and complete divorce trials.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    You can seek enforcement through the State Supreme Court matrimonial part that handles post judgment matters.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Law Office of Jacob R. Lauser
    Law Office of Jacob R. Lauser | Jacob R. Lauser
    As you probably already know, he can't just stop paying you, he needs to request a reduction or suspension by going to court. What you need to do though is to file a request with the court to enforce the judgment and force him to keep paying you, while also holding him in contempt of orders. I suggest you speak with a reputable attorney for help in accomplishing this.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Unless the court order is modified by a judge, he still owes you these payments. If you go in on a motion to enforce, you run the risk he will request a downward modification of the current order. Please meet with an experienced family law attorney to assess your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    You can take him back to court to enforce your order or contort him. But if he has no money then he may get a lower support amount. Reality is that you can't get blood from a stone so be careful about spending money without any hope for a return.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    File a motion for contempt immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2013
    Woods, May & Matlock, PC
    Woods, May & Matlock, PC | Robert J. Matlock
    You are entitled to file a motion for enforcement with the court that entered the alimony order. I suggest you hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/14/2013
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney