Depending on the length of a marriage and the financial prospects of each party, following a divorce – one spouse may be ordered to pay the other maintenance, also commonly referred to as alimony. If court-mandated maintenance suddenly stops, it can cause serious financial distress to the individual who is receiving payments. In this article, our Naperville spousal support lawyers provide an overview of options to collect delinquent maintenance in Illinois.
Legal Tools to Collect Delinquent Alimony Payments
There are several different tools available to collect delinquent spousal support. What option makes the most sense for you will depend on the circumstances of your case. Four of the most effective collection options are:
- 1. Negotiate a Settlement: In some cases, coming to an out-of-court settlement on unpaid maintenance is the best path forward for all parties. Negotiating a new agreement can be the most efficient and effective solution if your former spouse is willing to cooperate or if they are genuinely struggling to make payments because of their financial situation. Often times, a payment plan works for both parties.
- 2. Contempt of Court: Spousal support payments entered by an Illinois court are not optional. If a person simply chooses to stop paying, they can be found in contempt of court. A contempt of court finding is a serious matter. It can even result in an arrest. As such, the possibility of contempt of court is often enough to get payment. Further, if held in contempt, the court can order payment of all attorney’s fees for the parties bringing the petition for non-payment.
- 3. Wage Garnishment: Wage garnishment is another tool used to collect unpaid maintenance and child support. Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 28/1), state courts have the authority to garnish wages, up to a certain level of net income, when court-ordered spousal maintenance goes unpaid.
- 4. Enforcement Through a QDRO: Finally, you might be able to collect past due spousal support through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). In some cases, Illinois courts will allow parties to recover delinquent spousal support or delinquent child support through a retirement account held by the other party.
How Our Illinois Spousal Support Lawyers Can Help
If your former spouse stops making alimony payments, it is imperative you take immediate action to protect your rights. The deeper they fall behind on their spousal support obligations, the more challenging it becomes to collect the full amount owed. At Keller Legal Services, we know how to get results for clients. Among other things, our Aurora spousal maintenance attorneys are prepared to:
- Conduct a fully confidential assessment of your spousal support case;
- Answer questions, explain your rights and review your options;
- Devise a strategy to help you recover unpaid alimony; and
- Major health problems; and
- Take legal action to preserve your rights and protect your financial interests.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois family law attorneys have deep experience handling spousal maintenance cases. If your former spouse stopped paying alimony, we can help you protect your financial interests. For a free case evaluation, please contact us today. With office locations in Naperville, Bolingbrook and Aurora, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Cook County, DuPage County, Kendall County and Kane County.