Spousal maintenance can be awarded as part of a dissolution of marriage or legal separation proceeding and consists of periodic payments from the future income or earnings of one spouse to the other spouse. If your ex-spouse has missed spousal maintenance payments and they owe you an amount equal to or greater than three times the total monthly support obligation, the court has the ability to help correct the past-due amount. There are a few options the court can choose to use, which are described below.
First, a court could cite and punish the obligor for contempt of court. Second, a court could suspend the obligor’s driver’s license and/or occupational license. Third, if the obligor refuses to pay the owed maintenance, the court can sequester the personal estate and the rents and profits of real estate of the obligor and appoint a receiver of them. Finally, the court can also order the arrears to be paid out of the monthly income of the obligor.
When your former spouse fails to pay spousal maintenance or child support, your attorney may be able to use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to collect the past-due payments. Using a QDRO allows you to invade the obligor’s 401(k) funds, if necessary, so that you can have faster access to the money than the more punitive measures would provide.
If you owe your former spouse maintenance or support payments, you may need to speak to an attorney to resolve the debt. Often, with the help of a skilled attorney, the owed payments can be resolved outside of the court and the above repercussions can be avoided.