In 1980, provisions were made to allow alimony in Georgia if the court believed it was necessary. Alimony, a payment made after the divorce by one party to another, extends the period of time an adult has a duty to provide for his or her spouse. Under Georgia law, alimony payments are either permanent or temporary in order to allow the recipient time to transition to supporting him or herself. Once the court has ordered that one person begins paying a former spouse alimony, it is not unusual for payments to lapse. Regardless of the reason for the delay, it is important that the recipient begins exploring ways to handle late alimony payments before the situation spirals out of control.
Contact Your Ex-Spouse
After the divorce is finalized, it is not unusual for one or both parties to avoid speaking with each other. However, when alimony payments are late, contacting your spouse is advisable. Your spouse is in the best position to answer your questions regarding the delayed payments. The former spouse is often the only person who knows when payments will resume. If the idea of talking to your ex-spouse on the telephone is too unpleasant, consider sending him or her an email with a follow up text message.
Document All Conversations and Missed Payments
Carefully documenting all conversations about the late alimony payments is extremely important. It is easy to forget about payments or the details of conversations when you are under pressure because financial issues. Save copies of emails, screenshots of text messages, voicemails, and any other piece of information that proves you have discussed the missing payments with your former spouse. If the payments are not brought current, having detailed records that support your version of events will prove valuable.
Consider Contempt of Court Actions
The alimony that was granted during court proceedings is a judge’s order. Once your former spouse stops paying alimony and appears to have no intention of resuming payments, filing a Motion for Contempt might become your only recourse. After filing your motion, both parties will go to court, and if it is proved that the act of falling behind in alimony was a willful violation of the order, your former spouse may face consequences. Payment of past due balances along with paying your legal fees are both punishments that the judge can issue in addition to incarceration or wage garnishments.
When in Doubt, Contact an Attorney
If you or someone close to you is not receiving court ordered alimony payments, it is important that action is taken immediately. A qualified alimony and spousal support attorney can review your situation and advise the best course of action. The attorneys at Vayman and Teitelbaum understand how stressful it is to deal with a spouse who is refusing to follow court orders. We can help you get the resolution you deserve in a timely manner. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro area.