Alimony is a financial allowance paid from one person to another following a divorce. Under Minnesota law (Minnesota Code § 518.552), the amount and duration of alimony is based on a wide range of different factors. Once an alimony agreement or order is in place, the parties have an obligation to abide by its terms.
Unfortunately, in the real world, alimony payments are not always made on time. This raises an important question: What can you do if your former spouse fails to pay support? Here, our Southern Minnesota spousal support lawyers explain what you should do if your former ex stops paying alimony.
Comprehensively Document Any Failure to Pay Spousal Support
When your former spouse misses an alimony payment, it is crucial that you carefully document their delinquency. Write down the precise date of missed payments and exactly how much you are owed. With detailed record-keeping, it will be significantly easier to recover the full financial support you are owed.
Notify Your Former Partner of the Violation
When payments are missed, it is a best practice to take swift action to protect your interests. The longer an alimony delinquency is allowed to persist, the more challenging it will be to recover the full amount that you are owed. You should notify your former partner of the violation and try to figure out why they have not paid.
In some cases, you may find out that there is a legitimate reason behind the missed payment—such as a job loss, injury, illness, or other temporary disruption. If so, it may be sensible to work towards an agreement that allows your ex to re-start and catch up on their payments soon in the future. Alternatively, your ex may have unilaterally decided to stop paying alimony. This is not permissible in Minnesota.
Escalate the Matter—Take Legal Action to Protect Your Financial Interests
Once your former partner has been clearly notified of their failure to make timely alimony payments, you may need to escalate the issue to collect on the money you are owed. Minnesota courts will enforce legally valid alimony agreements or alimony orders. Depending on specific circumstances of the case, you may be able to recover unpaid alimony through:
- A voluntary, out-of-court settlement;
- Wage garnishment;
- Bank levies or asset seizures; and
- A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
Unpaid alimony claims should always be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The best approach to collect the full payments that you are owed will depend on many different factors, including the current financial circumstances of your former partner and their willingness (or lack thereof) to cooperate.
Call Our Mankato, MN Alimony Attorneys for Immediate Help
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our family lawyers have the skills and experience to handle the complete range of alimony cases. If your former partner suddenly stopped making spousal support payments, we can help. For a free, confidential consultation, please contact us at (507) 625-5000. With an office in Mankato, we represent clients throughout the region, including in Albert Lea, Faribault Owatonna, Waseca, and St. James.