A former spouse who quit their job to avoid paying alimony can leave anyone frustrated. Here’s a refresher on your rights in this situation.

While it may be tempting for an ex to quit their job in order to “get out of” paying spousal support–– this is not something that goes unnoticed by the court. Courts assess a spouse’s ability to provide for their former spouse’s needs by taking the duration of the marriage, their employment history, former and current income, and education level when making decisions and calculations about alimony payments. Income is not the only factor influencing spousal support. Judges characterize the fitness of a former spouse to provide. If these factors change, it is important for an ex-spouse to know their rights.

He has not paid the alimony… What should I do?

Upon identifying that an ex-spouse has stopped paying alimony–– a court-ordered payment–– an advisable step to take is to file a motion with the court. In this motion, the ex-spouse will provide evidence that alimony has not been paid, and then request that their ex-spouse compensates for overdue payments. If for some reason, the ex-spouse has involuntarily lost their job due to illness or injury, the issue may not need to be taken to court. However, if an ex-wife has a legitimate reason to believe that her ex-husband left their occupation with the intent to avoid alimony payments, she has the right to take him back to court.

Related: How Long Does Alimony Last in California?

If a former spouse fails to make alimony payments and is found to be disobeying court orders, a judge can interfere and confiscate their assets and estate to apply it toward alimony. Additional repercussions for the spouse who disobeys their court orders may vary per case. However, rest assured that there are measures in place to hold former spouses accountable for their responsibilities to their ex-spouse as set in their divorce order.

Related: Alimony vs Spousal Support in California: The Difference

What happens after I file a motion for the alimony?

A divorce order is an official legal document, and the tenets of the decree should be honored. While life can change unexpectedly, and modifications to the document can be made to reflect such, if a former spouse can prove her ex quit their job in order to avoid paying alimony, the courts will help remedy the situation. This realization can be hurtful and disrespectful, especially coming from someone who a woman once trusted. The courts will help enforce alimony payments and also ensure any money owed is paid.

The judge may either find the debtor in contempt of the court, where any overdue payments are required to be made or else fines will be added, or mandate a writ of execution, which allows the enforcing officer to seize what is owed to their former spouse from their assets, whether it be from their bank account or a part of their property. If the debtor were still employed, the court could also require their employer to withhold a portion of their income, to be sent to their former spouse for alimony. This helps mitigate situations where the ex paying alimony refuses to make their court-ordered payments to their former spouse.

Related: Abandonment and Alimony: CA Family Code Section 4410

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about your rights if your ex-spouse quit their job to avoid alimony, get your free consultation with us and speak to one of our Spousal Support Attorneys today!