How to Enforce an Alimony Order in California

Thu 18th February, 2021 Family Law

As part of many California divorce cases, one spouse may be ordered or agree to pay the other spouse alimony during and after the proceedings. Spousal support is a normal part of divorce, especially when one spouse earns a higher income than the other. Alimony is meant to help the spouse with the lower income while they become financially independent to maintain their standard of living through this transitional time. What happens if the spouse ordered to pay support refuses to do so? At the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler, our divorce attorney is here to explain your legal options for enforcing an alimony order in the Los Angeles area. Call or contact the office today to learn more.

Wage Garnishment

One option to collect alimony is through the use of a wage garnishment or income withholding order. This court order requires the employer of the spouse paying alimony to set aside a percentage of each paycheck, usually around 10%, and send it directly to the spouse who needs it. The money bypasses the spouse paying support entirely, negating the opportunity to withhold it. A wage garnishment order can be attached to many different types of income, including wages, bonuses, commissions, salaries, tax returns, lottery winnings, retirement accounts, veterans’ benefits accounts, and more. 

Property Liens and Sales

Another option for collecting owed alimony is through the use of property liens and sales. A property lien can be attached to real estate or personal property items and must be paid off before the seller can collect any remaining profits on the sale. A property sale is ordered by the court and carried out by the sheriff’s office. The sheriff seizes property, with some exemptions, and sells it in a public auction. The proceeds are then given to the spouse owed support to make up for any amount in arrears.

Contempt of Court

Finally, a spouse that willfully refuses to pay alimony to their former spouse may be held in contempt of court. The judge in the case can order daily accruing fines and even jail time until the spouse who must pay support agrees to do so and pays any amount in arrears. This option is typically reserved for a spouse that has the capacity to pay alimony but refuses to, not in situations in which circumstances make it difficult or impossible to make spousal support payments. To learn more about your options for enforcing an alimony order in California, talk to an experienced divorce attorney today.

Call or Contact Our Office Now

Are you stuck in a difficult situation because your former spouse refuses to pay alimony? If so, the Law Offices of Bradley S. Sandler is prepared to advocate for your legal rights in a spousal support dispute in the Beverly Hills area. Call the office or contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation of your legal case.