How Do I Enforce Spousal Support in California?

When a married couple divorces, the judge may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of money per month. This is known as spousal support, and its purpose is to help the spouse who is more financially disadvantaged by the divorce.

The duration of a spousal support order often depends upon the duration of the marriage: If the marriage lasted 10 or fewer years, the spousal support order could stand for several years; if the marriage lasted more than 10 years, spousal support can last many more years, or it may never end. Likewise, the amount of money ordered as spousal support will depend upon a calculation involving each spouse’s income, separate property, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

Enforcing Spousal Support

If you are receiving spousal support, it’s important to you that it actually comes – no matter the amount or for how long. You are receiving spousal support because you need it to make ends meet and provide for a way of life that you enjoyed while married. The courts recognize how important spousal support is and make it possible for those who are owed unpaid support to force the issue in front of the court’s attention.

Contempt of a Court Order

When it comes to securing unpaid spousal support, the receiving party should work with their attorney to file an affidavit with the court. This affidavit should contain the information and evidence necessary to demonstrate that although a party is ordered by the court to pay spousal support, they have not done so.

Once the affidavit is filed, a judge will consider the matter and determine whether or not to charge the paying spouse with contempt of a court order. In many cases, the threat of facing a contempt charge is enough to compel payment from someone who may be withholding spousal support. If not, there are other means by which spousal support can be obtained.

These can include court orders such as the following:

  • Wage Assignment Order, which is essentially wage garnishment. This requires the paying party’s employer to pay earnings directly to the receiving spouse.
  • Writ of Execution, which can compel someone to liquidate assets and property to pay the receiving party what they’re owed. Writs of seizure can also be written to secure liquid assets deposited in banks.

Do You Need Help Recovering Spousal Support?

If you are owed spousal support that your ex-spouse left unpaid, our attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP can provide the legal services you need to force payment. By helping you exercise your right to obtain the payments you are owed by law, our lawyers can help you take the necessary steps toward a better financial situation after your divorce.

For more information about how we can help, contact us online now.