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Compelling your former spouse to pay obligatory spousal support

When two people decide to end their marriage, a family court judge must formally declare that the marriage has been legally dissolved. Before this final step can be taken, the terms of the divorce must be clearly spelled out in a divorce decree. For some couples, this decree is simple and straightforward. For others, complex property division matters ultimately define the terms of the divorce decree.

Many complex divorce decrees contain orders for one spouse to pay the other spousal support for a set number of years or until certain conditions have been met. As divorce decrees are legally binding documents, individuals must either pay support obligations as outlined in the decree or face the possibility of punishment.

Unfortunately, the threat of punishment is not enough motivation for some obligors to keep up with their mandatory spousal support payment schedules. As a result, many spousal support beneficiaries are forced to hire attorneys in an effort to compel their former spouses to pay them the support they are owed.

If your former spouse is not paying you court-ordered spousal support, you do have rights under the law. If the lapse in support payments is not reasonable and temporary, you can opt to try mediation or you can take your former spouse to court. Please understand that you are not alone. Many, many spouses deal with this situation and ultimately justice prevails for many of them. If you have questions about compelling your former spouse to pay court-ordered spousal support, please contact an experienced family law attorney.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “What to Do If Ex-Spouse Won't Pay Support?” Aditi Mukherji, March 19, 2014

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