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How can I make sure my ex pays his alimony payments?

While it may seem like divorces should be fairly simple, this is rarely the case. The end of a relationship is usually complicated, and the longer the couple has been married, the more potential issues there may be at play. One of these such issues is alimony. If you are trying to get alimony payments as part of your divorce settlement, it's important to understand what you can do to protect this source of income if something happens later on.

The most common issue that happens with missed alimony payments is the payor not making the payments as ordered. Depending on how the terms of your divorce settlement are set up, there may be several options to enforce the payments, but one of the most common is filing contempt. Any party in a legal matter is in contempt of court if he or she is not acting in accordance with the court order.

Before filing for contempt, it's important to discuss this and other options with your legal representative to ensure you go into the proceedings well informed on the possible outcomes and what to expect. It may be possible to negotiate the issue depending on why your ex has fallen behind on the payments.

There are legal penalties that those ordered to pay alimony can face if they fall behind on payments. The severity of these penalties can vary depending on how far behind the person is and whether or not there are any extenuating circumstances. Whether you have are in the process of divorce and requesting alimony or are trying to get your ex to get current on delinquent payments, talking with an attorney is the first step.

Source:, "How to Protect Your Alimony," Rebecca Zung, Nov. 09, 2015

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