If your former spouse is not paying his or her court-ordered alimony, it is important to find out why. In the event that your former spouse is just refusing to pay it, you can file a petition with the family court requesting that a judge take action. Here are some of the options the judge has. 


The judge can cite your former spouse for contempt. If this is the first time your ex has failed to consistently make payments, the judge might issue another order stating that your ex has until a certain date to catch up on the payments. However, if your ex continues to not make payments and there is not a plausible reason why he or she has not, the judge could send your ex to jail. 

The amount of time that the judge decides to send your ex to jail for can vary based on state laws and other factors. Your attorney can request a longer period if he or she feels that the amount ordered is too light. 


The judge could also award you a judgment against your ex. The judgment could possibly include all of the owed funds plus interest. The judge might even rule that your ex needs to reimburse you for the amount of your attorney's fees. If you have spent money on other resources trying to collect on the debt, you could also ask to be reimbursed for them. 

Once you have a judgment, you can use it to take actions, such as placing a lien on your ex's belongings. You could even ask the judge for a writ of execution so that you can collect your judgment from his or her bank accounts and CDs.

Withhold Income

Another option is to ask the judge to issue an order to withhold income from your ex's paycheck. Your ex's employer would be responsible for deducting a certain amount from each paycheck your ex earns and sending it to you. This could be a preferable arrangement for you and your former spouse, since it takes the responsibility of making payments out of the hands of your ex. 

The judge has many other options available to make your ex pay up. Since alimony is a court-ordered debt, it is not one that just goes away. At some point, your ex will have to meet the terms of the arrangement and pay you what is owed. Contact a divorce lawyer if you have any questions.