Alimony, or spousal support, is money that the court may order one ex-spouse to pay to the other for the purpose of maintaining the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage, or to maintain a standard of living similar to the other spouse. There are many types of disputes that may arise pertaining to alimony. For all of them, you can turn to your divorce lawyer for assistance. You may experience alimony disputes while the divorce is still pending. For example, your spouse may argue against the amount of the payments. Either spouse may attempt to hide assets to obtain a financially favorable outcome. It’s also common for alimony disputes to arise well after the divorce has been finalized, such as the failure of one spouse to make payments.
Maintain Detailed Records
Keeping your financial records up-to-date is always a good idea, especially if you are paying or receiving alimony, or if you expect to do so in the future. For example, before you have your family lawyer file the divorce petition, create a detailed inventory of all of your assets and your spouse’s assets. This reduces the possibility that your spouse will try to conceal assets. Moving forward, retain copies of your recent bank account statements, pay stubs, and receipts for any major purchases.
File a Motion for Enforcement
If you are receiving alimony payments and your ex-spouse suddenly stops making payments or only submits partial payments, it’s time to schedule another appointment with your family law attorney. Depending on the circumstances, you may wish to speak with your ex-spouse first to determine why he or she has stopped sending payments. If the problem occurred because of job loss, you might consider having your lawyer draft a written agreement to temporarily modify the alimony arrangement. Otherwise, you can ask your family law attorney to file a motion for enforcement or petition for contempt. This is a petition that requests the court to enforce the court-ordered alimony agreement.
Petition the Court for a Modified Order
Either spouse may consult an attorney to seek a modified alimony agreement. If you’ve experienced a significant change in circumstances that requires you to receive more or pay less alimony, you can ask your attorney to file a petition with the court. Be prepared to show documentation to prove your change in circumstances.