When someone is granted spousal support following a divorce in Texas, it is likely because they need these payments to get back on their feet. If your former spouse is not paying as ordered, you may face financial hardship.
In this situation, knowing that you have legal options is essential. Speak with a local attorney about spousal support enforcement in The Colony. A diligent attorney from our firm is here to help you secure the money your former spouse owes you.
If a spouse proved they required maintenance during the divorce proceedings and a judge ordered it, the paying spouse must comply with the court order. If they fail to do so, the receiving spouse could petition the court to enforce it.
The receiving spouse must show that they are not receiving maintenance in accordance with the court order. A spousal support enforcement attorney in The Colony could prepare a petition asking the judge to order the paying spouse to bring their payments up to date. Additionally, they could request that the paying spouse covers the court costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses the petitioning spouse incurred because they did not receive their maintenance payments on time.
The judge could impose a judgment against the paying spouse for the amount in arrears. In many cases, a judge will enter a withholding order. The court serves the withholding order on the paying spouse’s employer, instructing the employer to withhold spousal support from the paying spouse’s wages. In some cases, the court could hold the paying spouse in contempt of court for refusing to obey a lawful court order. A contempt finding could lead to a jail sentence.
The only defense for failing to pay a spousal maintenance order is a lack of funds. When a paying spouse claims they do not have enough money to pay support, they must offer proof.
In addition, they must show that they made efforts to come up with the money they owe. For example, they must prove they do not have assets they could sell to meet their maintenance obligations and that attempts to borrow money to pay it were unsuccessful.
If the paying spouse offers adequate proof of inadequate funds, a court might modify the maintenance order rather than hold the paying spouse to their obligation. A spousal support enforcement attorney in The Colony could challenge the paying spouse’s evidence to prevent that outcome.
Many couples negotiate spousal support as part of their divorce settlement. These arrangements are called contractual support or contractual alimony. If the agreement was incorporated into the divorce decree, a receiving spouse could ask the judge to enforce it.
However, many such agreements are separate from the divorce decree. In that case, if the paying spouse reneges on their obligations, the receiving spouse cannot seek a contempt order from the court. However, they could seek to enforce the contract.
Texas Family Code Annotated §8.055 limits spousal maintenance to $5000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s gross income, whichever is less. A Family Court judge enforcing a contractual alimony agreement cannot require the paying party to pay more than the statutory limit, regardless of the couple’s agreement. However, if the receiving spouse sues for breach of contract in civil court, a judge could order specific performance of the agreement, meaning the judge will order the paying spouse to comply with the agreement’s terms.
If your former spouse is not paying support in accordance with a court order or your agreement, you may be able to pursue legal action. A skilled attorney from our firm could review your situation and explain your legal options.
Get help with spousal support enforcement in The Colony today by scheduling your confidential consultation.
Our Law Firm’s approach to your case is based on individual circumstances. Whether it is a simple negotiated settlement, or it requires an aggressive approach, we will protect and defend your best interests.