The purpose of spousal support, also known as alimony, is meant to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse during and after a divorce while they learn to become financially independent on their own as well as assist in maintaining their standard of living. However, in some cases the spouse paying alimony refuses to do so, leaving the spouse who is meant to receive support in dire financial straits. At the Johnson Law Firm, our experienced divorce attorneys are here to help enforce alimony orders and get you the money that you need. To learn more, call or contact our office for a consultation.
Contempt of Court Proceedings
One of the first methods of enforcing an alimony order is to hold the payor spouse in contempt of court. The spouse who is supposed to receive alimony files a petition with the court which requires the payor spouse to appear and explain why payments are not being made. If it is discovered that the payor spouse is willfully withholding alimony payments the court will hold them in contempt. This can result in jail time and additional fines on top of the alimony in arrears that continues until the spousal support is paid.
Income Withholding Order
Another option to enforce alimony in Missouri is to place an income withholding order, also known as a wage garnishment, on the payor spouse. This option mandates that the payor spouse’s employer withholds a percentage of each paycheck, typically around 10%, and send it directly to the recipient spouse for alimony payments. An income withholding order applies to many different types of income, including a salary, wages, commissions, bonuses, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and more.
Liens and Sheriff’s Sale
The third option to enforce an alimony order is to place liens on the personal property and real estate of the payor spouse. A lien can last up to 20 years and must be paid from the proceeds of the sale of that property before the seller can collect any profits from the sale. The court can also order a sheriff’s sale of items that are owned by the payor spouse in order to enforce an alimony order, which can include real estate and personal property, with certain exceptions. Any proceeds earned from the sheriff’s sale go directly towards paying the alimony in arrears.
Other Enforcement Options
Lastly, there are other enforcement options to compel a former spouse to pay alimony. Lottery winnings and tax returns can be intercepted and paid to the recipient spouse for any spousal support in arrears. Professional, occupational, recreational, and a driver’s license can also be suspended until alimony is paid. To learn more about your options, talk to our office today.
Contact Us Today
Are you in need of assistance enforcing an alimony order in the St. Louis area? If so, the knowledgeable divorce attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your case with one of our experienced lawyers now.