What action canI take if my ex quit paying my maintenance due to a loss of employment?

I have financial responsibilities, including my mortgage with the bank,that are based on my income including my maintenance from my settlement determined in our divorce decree. Only 30 days notice for no payment seems very unfair. What are my legal options? Should I respond in a letter? Should I expect non-payment? Will payments be extended in length of time according to missed payments. What should I do? What should I expect.?

Asked on December 13, 2010 under Family Law, Nebraska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should file an Order to Show Cause with the court for a hearing to continue your spousal support at the level set forth in your settlement.  You should also file  an application for an order enforcing the terms of your settlement and a declaration signed under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts.  File these documents  together with a proof of service  with the court, and serve the documents on your ex.  When you file the Order to Show Cause (court form), the court will set a date for a hearing.  The proof of service verifies the date of mailing the documents to your ex.  You can use a court form or you can write your own.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over 18 and the attached documents are being sent via first class mail unless specified otherwise to ___________ (name and address of your ex) on _________ (date of mailing).  You sign the proof of service under penalty of perjury.  The date of mailing should be the same date you sign the proof of service and the same date you file it with the court with your Order to Show Cause, Application for Order, and declaration.

It is not possible to predict the outcome in your case because it is not possible to predict how the court will rule; however, changed circumstances such as a change in income due to loss of employment would be an argument your ex could use to seek a modification of spousal support.

It would be advisable to check with the court clerk regarding the above forms I have mentioned because NE might use different names for these forms.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak with your divorce attorney about filing a contempt motion and asking the court to demand payment immediately or file garnishment of wages or attach a lien to obtain those missing monies.  Second, talk to your mortgage servicer or lender about options you may have so you don't lose the home.  If you run into problems obtaining information or help in a timely fashion, talk to your state's department of financial institutions about who regulates your servicer and or lender and file a complaint.  Otherwise, consider your employment situation and if there is anything you can do to obtain extra income (bring in boarders, ask co-habitants to chip in).

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