Today we are revisiting the situation in which a paying ex-spouse is delinquent on their alimony payments. If you face this as a spousal support recipient, Florida law gives state courts flexibility to craft a variety of remedies.
Injunction to preserve assets
Florida statute provides that if the payor spouse plans to leave Florida, remove their assets from the state or fraudulently hide or transfer property, the court may issue an injunction designed to secure the assets, providing protection of the alimony recipient’s right to spousal support.
You could ask the judge to secure assets or property of the payor spouse as a resource from which spousal support could be generated going forward. For example, the court could order a lien on real estate, including the homestead or order that the paying spouse become bonded or purchase life insurance for this purpose. If you have evidence of any bad faith actions to avoid paying you alimony, that may persuade the judge to take such actions. Otherwise, if there is no deterrent, you may have to return to court if the payor defaults again on their obligation.
The judge might allow repayment of the arrearages through a payment plan, which may be acceptable to you.
Once the late alimony is reduced to a money judgment, you may enforce that judgment as you would any other for money such as by seeking to garnish the payor’s wages or executing on the judgment by having the payor’s property seized and sold to pay the judgment.
If your ex-spouse were to die while owing spousal support, the past-due payments would be a debt for which you could make a creditor’s claim against the deceased’s estate.
While it is normally a good idea to actively pursue past-due spousal support, there is no deadline for filing for relief in court in this situation. However, a long delay could in rare cases trigger the defense of laches in which the court could find that the alimony recipient sat on the claim so long that the payor spouse suffered prejudice or embarrassment.
A Florida divorce attorney can answer your questions and provide guidance and representation in pursuing a legal remedy for recovery of missed spousal support payment