Alimony is meant to help support one spouse while they adjust to living as a single person after a divorce. Courts generally base the decision on whether to award alimony on several factors, and not everyone qualifies to receive alimony.
For those who do, however, it becomes an income they depend on. If your ex owes you back alimony payments, it can be detrimental to the process of learning to live on your own again. You may wonder what options are available to you to enforce the order.
Alimony enforcement options
FindLaw states that enforcing alimony payments can be difficult. Unlike with child support, the repercussions of not paying alimony can be mild. Your ex will not see his or her wages garnished, for example, as they would with back child support.
What you can do, however, is file a motion with the court claiming contempt on the part of your ex. Filing for contempt of court means that your ex is not respecting the authority of the court and abiding by the order for alimony. At court, you may ask the judge to force payment.
Consideration for circumstances
In most cases, people do not want to have courts involved in their lives more than necessary. If your ex owes you alimony payments, it may not be because he or she is trying to stiff you. Perhaps your ex recently lost a job or had a medical emergency that is preventing him or her from working. You may want to consider any extenuating circumstances before you decide to file for contempt of court.