One of the rewards given to a former spouse in a divorce proceeding is alimony. Although courts aim for equity, there are times when one ex is refusing to pay alimony to their former spouse. In this article, we will talk about what will happen if a person refuses or stops paying alimony.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is the payment the court orders one former spouse to pay another former spouse. Alimony’s purpose is to ensure that the former spouse has financial support that enables them to move on after divorce. There are multiple types of alimony in Florida.  They are as follows:

  • Temporary alimony is a payment that allows the former spouse to enjoy financial support during the actual divorce proceedings. The payment ends as soon as the divorce becomes official.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony goes to a former spouse to assist them in the transition from married to single. Bridge-the-gap will end automatically in two years but it may be sooner.
  • Rehabilitative support alimony goes to a former spouse so they can develop skills, go back to work, and be self-supporting. For example, paying for professional courses or certificates that will enable the recipient to find a new career.
  • Durational support is alimony that one ex pays the other over a specific period of time that does not exceed the length of the marriage itself.
  • Permanent alimony is alimony the courts awards to a former spouse who is unable to go back to work for whatever reason.

What Happens If My Ex Is Refusing To Pay Alimony?

If a former spouse refuses to pay alimony, multiple consequences may happen:

  • Contempt of court charges
  • Wage garnishment
  • Property seizure
  • Property liens
  • Tax refund garnishment
  • Judgments

Contempt Of Court

If the court holds someone in contempt of court for refusing to pay alimony, the judge may give them a fine and/or place them in jail until they pay the alimony.

Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment is an order by the court to someone’s employer ordering them to deduct money from the earned wages to pay another party.

Property Seizure

The process of property seizure is when money is taken from secondary income or savings to pay off the owed alimony payments.

Property Liens

When a court places a lien on a property, this will prevent the property owner from selling the property until they satisfy the lien or will force the proceeds of the sale of the property to pay the lien off first.

Tax Refund Garnishment

A tax refund garnishment is when money expected to receive from a tax return is forced to be used to pay off alimony.


If the former spouse receives a judgment from the court, the other spouse will have to pay the alimony, plus interest, and legal fees.

Problems Paying Alimony

If you have been ordered as part of a divorce or separation agreement to pay alimony and you might not be able to, you must seek legal counsel before any additional action being taken on you. The lawyers at Thompson Law will analyze your case and assist you in seeking a suspension or reduction in alimony payments.