How to Change Alimony Payments So They Are Paid Through a Court

by Cindy Chung
Wage garnishment means that the paying spouse no longer writes checks directly.

Wage garnishment means that the paying spouse no longer writes checks directly.

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If you have a court order to receive alimony, your ex-spouse must pay regular support as required by the court. If you stop receiving the payments, you may need to ask for court enforcement. State courts can often require the direct payment of alimony through wage garnishment. If a court issues a wage garnishment order, the employer must withdraw the alimony payment from the employee's paychecks for payment to the ex-spouse who receives alimony. The process of changing your existing court order to include wage garnishment depends on the alimony laws and procedures of your own state.

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Step 1

Research the laws of your state to determine the required procedures for changing an existing court order. Some states refer to this process as a modification. Alternatively, research the relevant state laws regarding enforcement of an alimony order if your state handles wage garnishment as an enforcement matter rather than as a modification.

Step 2

If your state's alimony laws require a judgment confirming unpaid, court-ordered alimony before you can request enforcement measures, obtain and prepare the required forms and deliver them to your state court . The titles of the required forms vary according to the terminology used by your state. In some states, for example, you must file an "Order to Show Cause" form.

Step 3

Ask the court to require wage garnishment for the payment of alimony after you have obtained a judgment showing your ex-spouse owes arrears, i.e. past due payments, to you. Fill out the court form to request wage garnishment if your state requires one.

Step 4

Alternatively, obtain the court forms to request a modification of your existing order for alimony if your state does not first require a judgment of arrears. Ask the court to change your court order to require wage garnishment from the paying party's paychecks. Explain the arrears and other circumstances that have caused you to request the wage garnishment.