What do I do if my Ex-Spouse Won’t Pay Court-Ordered Alimony?

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In many marriages, one spouse is financially dependent on the other. In the event of a divorce, the dependent spouse may receive alimony payments from the independent spouse in order to ensure that both spouses are financially stable. This is called alimony, also known as spousal maintenance. Read on to learn more about alimony and how it is enforced in New York.

Common types of alimony:

There are a number of different types of alimony you may be awarded in New York. The most common types of alimony arrangements include:

  • Permanent alimony: This stays in effect indefinitely or until there is a change in a former spouse’s circumstances. It can be awarded based on the duration of the marriage. If the marriage lasts up to 15 years, alimony can be awarded for 15 to 30% of the duration. If it lasts between 16 and 20 years, the payments may be between 30 to 50% of the duration. Marriages that last 20 years or more can see between 35 to 50% of the duration.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This can be awarded to a dependent spouse when they put off their career to support their partner so that they can receive the education or training they need to get back into their field.
  • Reimbursement alimony: This can reimburse a spouse if they financially support their partner while they are pursuing education or training. 

What if my ex won’t pay court-ordered alimony?

Alimony can be a complicated matter. In some cases, the spouse ordered to pay alimony will refuse to do so. In this case, a New York judge might need to get involved. There are a number of ways for alimony payments to be enforced by a court, including:

  • Wage garnishment
    • A judge may order your ex’s employer to take a portion of funds from your ex-spouse’s paycheck and send them directly to you.
  • Property liens
    • A judge may order some of your ex’s property to be seized until alimony payments are made.
  • Suspension of drivers’ licenses
  • Imprisonment

If your spouse refuses to pay court-ordered alimony, you will likely need the help of an experienced divorce attorney. Reach out to our firm today to discuss your case.


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The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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