Defined simply, alimony is a court-ordered allowance that one of the newly-divorced spouse pays to the other newly-divorced spouse usually for a specified period of time. The purpose of alimony is to provide newly-divorced spouses with some sense of financial equity so that the lowering-earning spouse can support him or herself after the divorce and maintain a reasonably similar lifestyle to that enjoyed during the marriage.
Consequently, New Jersey courts have broad discretion in determining whether or not to award alimony to a party in a divorce action. Typically, New Jersey courts only award alimony if there is a substantial financial disparity between the spouses and this disparity existed during the marriage. If a New Jersey court awards you alimony in your divorce action and your ex-spouse fails to make alimony payments, it is important to know what your legal options are to ensure that you receive the alimony payments to which you are entitled.
File a Post-judgment Motion to Enforce Alimony Payments
If your ex-spouse is not paying you court-ordered alimony payments, you may file a motion in aid of litigant’s rights against your ex-spouse as a means to compel him or her to make the payments. According to New Jersey law, such motion can be filed in cases where one of the parties is willfully disobeying the terms of a court order. These types of motions may only be granted, however, if the moving party proves that the alleged disobedient party is willfully violating the terms of a court order. When an ex- spouse is failing to make court-ordered alimony payments to the moving ex-spouse, the moving ex-spouse may prove his or her motion by providing the court with an affidavit or certification with exhibits, such as bank statements that can be used to show when the payor ex-spouse stopped making payments as well as with oral or written statements made by the payor ex-spouse that indicate he or she will no longer make the court-ordered payments.
If the moving party successfully proves that the payor ex-spouse is willfully violating the court order by failing to make alimony payments, the court may order the payor ex-spouse to pay the amount currently due and owing to the moving party and may also impose a fine on the payor ex-spouse. In certain cases, the court may even incarcerate the payor ex-spouse for willfully violating a court order to make alimony payments.
In New Jersey, most awards of alimony include provisions allowing the payor ex-spouse’s employer to withhold a certain portion of the payor’s income and use this withholding to make alimony payments to the payee ex-spouse. However, sometimes court orders fail to contain provisions concerning income withholding. If your ex-spouse is failing to make the court-ordered alimony payments to you and there is no provision in the current alimony order allowing the payor’s employer to withhold the payments from the payor’s income, the payee ex-spouse can request that the court modify the alimony order to include income withholding provisions. If a court grants this modification, the employer of the payor will be the one furnishing you with the payments instead of the payor. Consequently, as long as the payor ex-spouse is employed, you will receive your alimony payments.
Writ of Execution
Similar to obtaining a modification of the alimony order to include income withholding provisions, payee ex-spouses may also try to obtain a writ of execution against the payor ex-spouse if he or she is not receiving the court-ordered payments. When a New Jersey court grants the payee ex-spouse this writ, the court may award the payee ex-spouse a portion of the payor ex-spouse’s bank account or other assets in order to satisfy the past due alimony payments.
Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel K. Newman represent clients throughout the state, including Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Collingswood. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 309-9007 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1202 Laurel Oak Rd #207 Voorhees Township, NJ 08043.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.