Alimony Enforcement Lawyers Serving Clients in Passaic, Essex, and Bergen County NJ
A divorce ends in two people who once shared a household and made it thrive as a unit breaking into two separate households. Whether one spouse or both worked, the division of one household into two most often results in both households having less. In some cases, only one spouse earned income or earned most of the household income. When spouses divorce, that disparity of income or income potential may cause a judge to order temporary or extended durational alimony to the spouse in need of it. A family law judge may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other, or the parties may agree on alimony payments, which becomes part of the divorce decree. That means it is the law. An alimony order, however, does not guarantee the ordered party will pay. When the obligated party fails to pay alimony, the supported spouse may be unable to pay their bills or rent and suffer anxiety about their survival. If your ex-spouse is not paying alimony, you do have recourse.
Since your remedy for non-payment of support is handled in the family law courts, you are well-advised to find an experienced family law attorney to help you get your alimony order enforced. The highly skilled Divorce Attorneys at The Montanari Law Group provide counsel to clients in need of help with alimony enforcement across New Jersey, including Passaic County, Essex County, and Bergen County towns like Wayne, Clifton, Little Falls, Hackensack, Montclair, South Orange, West Orange, and Ridgewood.
Options for Enforcing Your Alimony Agreement
An attorney can file a motion in the family court asking the court to order your ex to pay back support, to become current on alimony payments, and to pay all future alimony payments as ordered. Your attorney can also request that the court order your ex to pay your attorney fees or to issue a bench warrant for their arrest for violating a court order. Filing a notice of motion to enforce an alimony order or agreement allows you to obtain court assistance in the enforcement process. There are multiple ways to secure the alimony you are entitled to.
For example, the court can issue a wage execution or garnishment, which requires the alimony payor’s employer to take a percentage out of their weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly wages for your alimony payment. Your attorney will first notify your ex-spouse that you plan to attach their wages by sending the application for the wage execution to be filed with the court. In that way, your ex has time to object to the wage garnishment and have a hearing on the objection. If no objection is filed, your attorney will file another document: a writ of execution to get the wage garnishment. The amount may not be the full payment, however, since only a certain percentage of an employee’s wages may be taken at a time.
You might also execute and sell property belonging to your ex to get your back alimony. Once the court determines the outstanding balance of unpaid alimony at the motion to execute the alimony order hearing, you can seize property up to that amount. Your attorney can file the appropriate papers to get an execution and sale order so that you can attach bank accounts with a bank levy. First, a court must sign a writ of execution, which is then sent to the sheriff’s office for delivery to the obligated party’s bank. The bank then takes the money out of the account and transfers it to you after you file a motion to turn over the funds. You can also have other assets turned over to you, like cars, boats, business equipment, or real property, so long as you can prove the seized property belongs to the party who owes the alimony. And even if your ex moves out of state, you can get your judgment recognized in another state and execute your judgment there.
Though these remedies are available, you may have to wait to get your full alimony back pay and current pay.
Changes in Payments when an Ex Fails to Pay Required Spousal Support
Those who agreed or were ordered to pay alimony may have many reasons for not paying. Divorced parties may not communicate well, so you may not know what is going on with your ex. They could have fallen ill, gotten into an accident, lost their job, experienced a devastating loss, or some other sympathetic reason for failing to pay alimony. And if your ex appears at your motion to execute on the alimony order or agreement, they may explain to the judge why they have not paid. The court has several options in response, including modifying alimony payments, delaying or reducing it temporarily or permanently. While a judge may not excuse unpaid alimony, they may modify an order going forward.
However, a refusal to pay without a viable excuse may land a non-paying party in jail. Willfully disobeying a court order is contempt of court. Thus, you must file a motion with the court to find your ex in contempt of court for disobeying an alimony court order. In response, the court may order your ex to pay the outstanding unpaid alimony, your attorney’s fees, fines, and other costs incurred for having to bring the motion. The court can emphasize to your ex that they face the possible loss of their driver’s license and jail time for not obeying the order. Though courts would rather your ex pay and stay out of jail, continued refusal to obey a court order will eventually be punished to the extent the non-paying party continues to flout the judge’s order.
Our Seasoned Family Law Team of Attorneys will Assist You with Alimony Enforcement in New Jersey
Since filing the correct documents and appearing in court to argue your case before a judge requires legal expertise, you do not want to chance further delaying your alimony payments by making mistakes. Hire a family law attorney who regularly files and argues motions to enforce and execute on alimony and contempt orders. And if your ex hires an attorney to defend against motions you file, you want an advocate to ensure you get the support you need to live. Also, since you can ask for your attorney’s fees to be paid, you have a good chance of getting your alimony and attorney’s fees paid to enforce your alimony order.
Do not hesitate to contact The Montanari Law Group, LLC. Since it takes time to file your paperwork and get a hearing before a judge, you do not want to prolong getting help. Call 973-233-4396 or email an experienced family law attorney for advice today in Verona, Elmwood Park, Wallington, Cedar Grove or visit us at our Little Falls office.