Divorce is a challenging and emotional time. Once you’re through it, you’re trying to piece your life back together. Part of the help you’ll get to do that is alimony.
Alimony is provided to you from your former spouse to help you get back on your feet. That doesn’t mean alimony will last forever, though, so you should plan accordingly. The alimony won’t stop until the court says so.
How Alimony Is Determined
Alimony is based on several factors, such as:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Your former spouse’s ability to provide alimony
- Your need for alimony
- The earning potential of both of you
During your divorce proceedings, the court will review your financial information and make a determination about alimony. In the final divorce order, the court will explain the alimony required, who is paying it, and for how long. If your former spouse has stopped paying alimony for any reason, you need the services of a trusted family law attorney to help what is owed to you.
Your Former Spouse Has Stopped Paying Alimony
When your former spouse stops paying alimony, you may not know the reason why. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they simply don’t want to pay anymore. Only one of these is a good reason to temporarily stop paying alimony.
If you’ve had contact with your former spouse and they’ve told you they are filing bankruptcy and that’s why they’ve stopped the alimony payments, you need to contact your lawyer right away.
Bankruptcy is an Option for Some Debts — Not Alimony
While bankruptcy is an option for some debts, the bankruptcy code does not allow for alimony to be discharged in filing for bankruptcy. In 2005, Congress amended the bankruptcy code and declared that any alimony or support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Some debts are dischargeable through bankruptcy, such as:
- Car payments
- Credit card debt
Alimony must be paid until the court says it no longer needs to be paid. If your former spouse is filing bankruptcy, that does not eliminate their obligation to pay alimony.
File a Petition to Enforce
While filing bankruptcy may show that your former spouse has a reduced income, that doesn’t mean alimony will stop. You must let the court know what is happening and allow them the opportunity to take action on your behalf.
Even if the court finds your former spouse has a reduced ability to pay alimony and reduces the payment amount, the court can still enforce the back alimony they still owe you. The court can also garnish your former spouse’s wages to make sure they don’t miss a payment in the future and you get the alimony to which you’re entitled.
Contact an Attorney for Help
Filing a petition to enforce alimony is a complex legal procedure that requires the keen eye of a skilled family law attorney. A good lawyer will have the experience to make sure you get the alimony you need. You must act fast. Contact a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, to get started today.