By Matthew T. Hovey, Esquire
The Court awarded you alimony (or alimony pendente lite), but now your ex-spouse refuses to pay. This is a serious problem because you rely in one way or another on the alimony to make ends meet. Because alimony is discretionary, the court would not have awarded you alimony if this statement was not true. What then can you do to enforce the alimony order?
23 Pa.C.S. § 3703, “Enforcement of Arrearages,” holds the answer. If at any time you are owed money pursuant to an order for alimony, but you are not being paid the alimony, you need to petition the court for enforcement. The court will then hold a hearing on the matter and it has broad powers to enforce the court order.
The court’s powers to enforce an order for alimony include:
- Enter a judgment against the obligated ex-spouse.
- Authorize the taking and seizure of goods and personal property of the ex-spouse, as well as the collection of rents or profits from real estate property.
- Attach up to 50% of the wages of the other party.
- Award interest for unpaid alimony installments.
- Require security to insure future payments.
- Issue a warrant for the arrest of the obligated ex-spouse and if, after a hearing, it is determined that the party willfully failed to comply with the court order alimony, jail the person for up to 6 months.
- Award reasonable attorneys fees and costs.
If you, a family member, or friend are not being paid alimony owed you by court order or a property settlement agreement, please contact our firm to discuss your options and for a free initial consultation.