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Alimony Enforcement in Florida

If an ex-spouse has been ordered by a Florida court to pay alimony, but refuses to do so, there are some remedies available. These fall under section 61.14 of Florida statutes, in particular, under subsection (5)(a).

Alimony is calculated by the court based on an obligor's present ability to pay. This means that the amount will be based on a party's income at that exact time, not what it was the prior month, or what it may be a month ahead. An order is then entered, and the obligor becomes immediately responsible for making those monthly payments to his or her spouse. If the obligor's ongoing income should decrease, he or she may apply to the court for a modification of the alimony order. However, until an order reducing the amount of alimony due is signed by a judge, the original order remains in force. A verbal notice of inability to pay is insufficient. Any change in payment amounts require a new court order to become legally enforceable.

Regardless of circumstance, if a party refuses to pay alimony as ordered, an obligee may file a Motion for Contempt. This will force the court to bring the obligor before the judge for a contempt hearing. It is there that an obligor will be required to show proof of why the alimony cannot be paid. The court will take all current circumstances into consideration, as well as alimony payment history, and issue a decision either granting or denying the contempt.

If granted, an obligor will likely have a set number of days in which to bring alimony payments current or face possible jail time. If denied, the court may agree with the obligee as to inability to pay and agree to decrease or discontinue alimony payments.

A divorce attorney can assist in obtaining the necessary orders for enforcement of payments ordered by a court.

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