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Former Wife Files Motion For Contempt Based On Failure To Pay Alimony


Recent changes to the law have done away with permanent alimony. Today, a former spouse is only entitled to durational alimony which is calculated based on the length of the marriage. However, the appeals courts are still hearing cases concerning permanent alimony for agreements that were entered into prior to the law change. In one case, Kritzman v. Kritzman, the former husband entered into a negotiated settlement with the wife in which he agreed to pay one-third of his gross income as a permanent alimony payment.

The wife alleged that her former husband had failed to pay the agreed-upon amount. In 2019, she filed a motion for contempt, enforcement, attorney’s fees, costs, and other relief, alleging that her former husband violated the agreement by failing to pay the full amount of alimony from 2015 to 2019. The trial court denied the wife’s motion for contempt finding that the former husband did not have the ability to pay the arrearages. The wife moved for a rehearing. During the rehearing, the court partially granted the wife’s motion and ordered the husband to pay $2,000 a month in arrears by imposing an equitable lien on the balance of the former husband’s retirement funds to secure payment.

The wife later filed two subsequent motions for contempt, sanctions, attorney’s fees, costs, enforcement, and other relief. The trial court denied these motions on the basis that the former husband could only afford to pay $4,000 a month total ($2,000 for alimony, and $2,000 for arrearages). The court ordered that half of the money be paid by an income withholding order and the other half be paid from the husband’s 401k accounts.

On appeal, the appeals court broadly affirmed the trial court’s ruling with one exception. The trial court ordered that the arrearages be paid for out of a lien on the husband’s retirement funds. The appeals court reversed the trial court’s ruling that the arrearages be paid for out of the husband’s 401k.

What happens when you fail to pay alimony in Florida? 

In the case mentioned above, the former wife argued that her former husband failed to pay alimony. If a party to divorce is ordered to pay alimony and does not, the court can take several actions to ensure that the alimony is paid. This includes garnishing your wages, seizure of property, having a lien placed on your home, and the seizure of income tax refunds. The court can also hold you in contempt which can include fines and even jail time.

The spouse who is receiving alimony can also request that a judgment be entered against the non-paying spouse. The court will issue an order for the amount of back-owed alimony plus interest on the back-owed payments. In some cases, the court will award the party who did not receive alimony the right to recover their legal fees.

Talk to an Orlando Family Law Attorney Today 

The Orlando family attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law represent the interests of those pursuing a divorce. We can help you negotiate for a fair alimony payment and ensure that alimony is paid properly. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.

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