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Failure to Pay Alimony in Minnesota

Failure to Pay Alimony in Minnesota

When spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is court-ordered, it must be paid. Failure to pay spousal maintenance in Minnesota has its consequences. If you are the one ordered to pay, you may have an option: you can file a petition to modify spousal support based on changed circumstances. If you are the one owed spousal support, you have remedies.

At Heritage Law Office, our family law lawyer in Minnesota will advise you accordingly when either you or your ex-spouse has failed to pay spousal support. Adhering to the law is important. It's also important to remember you have options. Contact us today through our online form or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation and get specific information about your case.

What Should You Do When an Ex-Spouse Fails to Pay Court-Ordered spousal maintenance in Minnesota?

If you are divorced and your ex-spouse is court-ordered to pay you spousal support, it is likely that you depend on that income to help pay for your living expenses. What recourse do you have when your ex fails to pay the court-ordered support? 

In most cases, you can file a motion with the court to ask that a judge review your case and order your ex-spouse to pay the amount in arrears and comply with the order by making all future payments. 

How Are Alimony Orders Enforced in Minnesota?

In addition to filing the motion mentioned above, most jurisdictions offer several different ways to enforce alimony payments when the party ordered to make them fails to comply with the court order. Some of the most common ways include income withholding, contempt of court, and writ of execution.

Income Withholding

Income withholding is when your ex-spouse's employer takes the amount your ex-spouse owes you in alimony out of their paycheck. This ensures you receive the amount you are owed before your ex-spouse even receives the funds. Employers will typically only implement income withholding when there is a court order in place and the appropriate state and federal forms have been completed.

Contempt of Court

By not paying the alimony as ordered by the court, your ex-spouse may be held in contempt of court. This requires filing a motion in court. At the hearing, the court will hear evidence as to why your ex-spouse should be held in contempt. If the judge agrees, an order may be issued that includes additional fines, jail time, your attorney's fees, or other sanctions. 

Writ of Execution

It may be possible to have a Writ of Execution issued. A Writ of Execution is an order issued by the court that allows the personal property of your ex-spouse to be seized, sold, and then the proceeds from the sale used to pay the past-due alimony. This method may also be used to collect money from your ex-spouse's bank accounts.

Do I Need a Family Law Attorney in Minnesota to Collect Overdue Alimony?

It is possible for you to file the motion asking for the court's help in enforcing the alimony order on your own. However, if you do not properly file it, the case may not go in your favor. It's typically in your best interest to seek the assistance of a family law attorney in your area. Some situations where it may be beneficial to have a lawyer's guidance include situations where:

  • You are unable to locate your ex-spouse to serve them with a motion
  • Your spouse's employer refuses to withhold the alimony from his pay
  • Your spouse works and is able to pay the alimony, but is paid “under the table”

A spousal support lawyer in Minnesota is also critical to make sure that you complete and properly file:

  • Paperwork to have income withholding initiated
  • Motion for Contempt of Court
  • Writ of Execution
  • Additional court motions for enforcement

Motions and court filings can be intimidating. Plus, they are often attached to deadlines, the latter of which if missed could mean your complaint or motion fails.

Contact a spousal maintenance Lawyer for Failure to Pay in Minnesota

Don't let failure to pay spousal support in Minnesota prevent you from what's fair and just. You have options––whether you need to modify alimony or receive past-due payments, contact Heritage Law Office online or call us directly at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation. Our family law attorney will help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and ensure the process is properly followed.

Picture Banner of Frequently Asked Questions About Article Topic: Failure to Pay Alimony in Minnesota

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is Spousal Maintenance or Alimony?

Spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony, is a financial payment made by one ex-spouse to the other after a divorce or separation. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties can maintain a similar standard of living to what they were accustomed to during the marriage. The amount and duration of these payments are determined by a court and can vary based on numerous factors like length of marriage, financial circumstances, and the needs of each party.

2. How is the Amount of Alimony Calculated in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, the amount of alimony is determined by considering various factors such as the needs of the recipient spouse, the ability of the paying spouse to provide support, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of both parties, and the length of the marriage. There is no fixed formula, and each case is evaluated individually. It is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney to get an accurate assessment for your specific situation.

3. Can Spousal Maintenance be Modified?

Yes, spousal maintenance can generally be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances for either party, such as a significant change in income, health, or marital status. To modify an existing spousal maintenance order in Minnesota, you will need to file a petition with the court and provide evidence for the changed conditions. A judge will then re-evaluate the case to decide whether a modification is warranted.

4. What Happens if I Don't Pay Court-Ordered Alimony?

Failure to pay court-ordered spousal maintenance can result in severe consequences in Minnesota. Methods of enforcement can range from income withholding from the payer's employer to contempt of court proceedings. Severe cases can even lead to jail time. The recipient spouse can also file a motion with the court to enforce the alimony order, and this may include additional legal fees and fines against the non-paying spouse.

5. What Are the Tax Implications of Paying or Receiving Alimony?

The tax implications for alimony payments have undergone changes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. For divorce agreements finalized after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are not deductible for the payer, and the recipient does not have to report these payments as income. This is a shift from previous laws where the payer could deduct the amount and the recipient had to report it as income. It's important to consult a tax advisor or an experienced family law attorney to understand the full scope of tax implications for your specific situation.

By understanding these common questions about spousal maintenance in Minnesota, you can better prepare for what lies ahead. If you have specific questions about your case or need legal guidance, contact a family law attorney for personalized advice.

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