Can alimony be changed if in serious arrears?

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Can alimony be changed if in serious arrears?

My ex has willfully refused to pay his court ordered alimony. It was awarded to me 5 years ago at $400 a month. Since then, he has only paid $1600 into the court. He wants to get the alimony stopped altogether by taking it back before the judge. Will he be found in contempt of court and action taken accordingly against him, by the magistrate? He has had the means to pay yet refuses to. I want to garnish his SSDI payments but am not sure how to go about doing so.

Asked on September 10, 2019 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If he can pay, the fact that he is in arrears is NOT a legal ground or justification to change it. Alimony can be changed if due to circumstances beyond the ex-spouse's control, he becomes unable to pay: for example, he had a high-paying job, became disabled, and lost that income and what income sources he has left or gets now are not enough to pay the alimony. But if his income is enough for the monthly payments, he has to pay and the court can force him to do so.
SSDI can be garnished for alimony (SSI cannot be). 
You really need an attorney's help with this matter: collection on unpaid alimony arrears, garnishing SSDI, etc. can be very complex. If he only paid $1,600 over the past 5 years, he owes you another $23,400, give or take, at present, and you have $4,800 per year going forward at stake. It is well worth finding the way to retain a family law attorney.


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