My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Pay Alimony, How Can I Enforce My Alimony Order?

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:

  1. Enter a judgment against the obligated ex-spouse.
  2. 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.
  3. Attach up to 50% of the wages of the other party.
  4. Award interest for unpaid alimony installments.
  5. Require security to insure future payments.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

3 thoughts on “My Ex-Spouse Refuses to Pay Alimony, How Can I Enforce My Alimony Order?

  1. My ex-husband is not paying me court ordered alimony payments since October of 2010. What at me legal rights against him?


  2. Hello,
    My ex is working, but his company says he is an independent contractor,
    Therefore they don’t have to adhere to any court order.
    I have spoken to several business that they too have independent contractors, but are required by law to pay alimony.
    What can I do?



  3. My ex was ordered to pay alimony and to deliver to me by 5pm on fridays. Written in divorce decree. He did not show up as ordered today. Can I have him arrested by local sheriff department for being in contempt??


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