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How Do I Make Sure My Ex Pays Spousal Support On Time?

 Posted on September 10, 2020 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles divorce lawyerSpousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, is often an important element of an Illinois divorce resolution, especially for stay-at-home parents and anyone with significantly lower income or earning potential than their spouse. However, it can also be a major point of contention if your ex is resentful about having to pay support, and arguments can last well after the divorce is finalized if he or she fails to make the required payments on time. If your former spouse is regularly late in making payments that you rely on, you should work with an attorney who can help you pursue enforcement.

Spousal Support Enforcement in Illinois

The terms of a divorce agreement filed in court are legally binding, so as long as the original agreement includes a spousal support order, you have the option to pursue legal enforcement after your ex’s late payments. In some cases, it may be best to notify your former spouse in advance that you intend to pursue legal action, as this on its own may be enough to convince him or her to make the required payments.

However, if your ex still fails to pay despite your best efforts, your attorney can help you file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause asserting that your ex-spouse has failed to follow a court order. Your petition should clearly identify the terms of the divorce agreement that your former spouse has violated, and you should be prepared to present evidence of the failure to pay, including your financial statements and records of communication with your ex.

If the court determines there are grounds for enforcement, your former spouse will be required to attend a court hearing, and depending on the outcome, may face consequences including:

  • A warning urging him or her to compensate you for all missing payments to avoid facing additional penalties

  • Income withholding, garnishment, or seizure of assets in order to make the required payments

  • Charges of contempt of court, which may result in fines and jail time

  • Criminal charges of a Class A misdemeanor for failure to support

Your ex may attempt to argue that the failure to pay on time is due to a change in his or her financial situation, but this is not a valid excuse unless he or she has already legally obtained a modification to the spousal support order.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

Your need for an experienced attorney may continue after your divorce is finalized, and at Weiler & Associates, Inc., we are prepared to help you with any necessary enforcement or modification proceedings to protect you and your financial stability. Contact a St. Charles divorce lawyer today at 630-382-8050.


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