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Consequences for Refusing to Pay Alimony in Florida

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 20, 2022

If you don’t pay the alimony you are legally required to pay, stiff consequences await you under Florida law. Below, we’re going to discuss these consequences and let you know how to get help.

Alimony Law in Florida

A judge may require that alimony be paid to one of the spouses after divorce. This alimony payment is based on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, including the following:

  • Whether adultery occurred

  • Financial need

  • Standard of living

  • Length of marriage

  • Age of receiving spouse

  • Physical and/or emotional condition of receiving spouse

  • Assets of both spouses

  • Earning ability of both spouses

  • Other factors affecting fairness to both spouses

Alimony can be set up in different ways under Florida law:

Bridge-the-gap Alimony

This type of alimony helps the receiving spouse for up to two years of transition time. As with all alimony cases, it is not binding if either spouse remarries or dies.

Rehabilitative Alimony

If the receiving spouse needs redevelopment of workforce skills, or new training to be eligible for employment, this type of alimony can apply. It is formed according to a specific plan, and it ends when the plan is completed.

Durational Alimony

With this type of alimony, payments are made for a certain time period determined by the judge. The length of durational alimony cannot be longer than the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony

If the receiving spouse is unable to meet his or her financial needs after divorce, the alimony agreement may be permanent. This is more likely to be true after marriages of long duration than short-term marriages.

Consequences of Failing to Pay Alimony

You could face several serious consequences like these for failure to pay court-ordered alimony.

Contempt of court

The judge may find you in contempt of court, which could result in a fine, a brief stay in jail, or both. You may also be ordered to stay in jail until you pay what you owe.

Wage garnishment

The judge can order that a portion of your wages is automatically reserved for alimony payments before you receive your portion.

Property seizure

Any of your valuable assets could be seized by the courts if you fail to pay. These include bank balances, dividends, rental income, royalties, or physical property.

Property liens

The court can place a lien on your property, which will prohibit the finality of its sale until your alimony is paid.

Tax refund designation

The court has the right to demand that your income tax refund be used for unpaid alimony.

Judgment and Interest

If you owe a large amount of unpaid alimony, your former spouse can file for a judgment against you. If the judge decides to award your former spouse, you will be responsible for the full amount plus interest, in addition to your former spouse’s legal fees.

If You Can’t Pay Alimony in Florida

If you’re having a hard time making regular alimony payments, you have several options to consider. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you make changes to your alimony agreement.

Whether you have lost your job, experienced a pay cut or suffered from medical problems, you may have a legitimate reason to get your payments reduced, suspended, or eliminated.

Need legal help for making changes to your alimony agreement? Call for a consultation today with a trusted Florida family law attorney