Creativity and Enforcing Financial Awards After the Divorce

Creativity and Enforcing Financial Awards After the Divorce

Consider the following scenario: You go to Court and get a judgment against your former spouse. It might be for child support, alimony, attorneys’ fees, retirement assets, or a monetary award.

Your former spouse refuses to pay.

What do you do next?

Here are just a few situations and potential solutions showcasing the need to meet with an experienced family law attorney. He or she can help you analyze your issues and work towards a productive solution.

  1. Failure to pay alimony: Let’s say your Petition for Contempt, garnishments, and other efforts fail, because the person owing alimony retires and begins taking Social Security. Your next step? Obtain an Earnings Withholding Order from the Court and try to garnish the social security payment directly from the Social Security Administration.
  1. Failure to pay child support: There is almost always something important that can be leveraged against an ex-spouse who owes child support. Perhaps it is a driver’s license that can be suspended. Perhaps it is an interception of a tax refund, or even suspension of a passport.
  1. Failure to pay retirement assets: For the most part, enforcement is made through a retirement order, usually called a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). But what if the person owing the retirement award has drained the account before the QDRO could be entered? Aside from contempt proceedings, follow the money – it had to go somewhere. No judge will be a fan of a former spouse acting this way.
  1. Failure to pay monetary award: This award is the equitable distribution of assets between spouses. You have an award, the other side refuses to pay, and there appears to be no money from which the award can be taken. Your ex-spouse may even file for bankruptcy. You can chase the spouse through the bankruptcy courts, and again, Federal judges don’t take kindly to former spouses trying to misuse Federal law.

This list is merely a primer. When an enforcement issue becomes complicated, take time to sit down with a divorce attorney whose creativity and skill can guide you to your best chance of recovering the money the court awarded to you.

SIEGELLAW offers creative solutions which allow our clients to lay the foundations for a better future. Put our experience to work for you. Call us at 410-792-2300, or fill out the form for more information.