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Law Offices Of David Bliven
Law Offices Of David Bliven
  • White Plains Office 19 Court Street
    Suite 206
    White Plains, NY 10601
  • Bronx Office 3190 Riverdale Avenue
    Suite 1
    Bronx, NY 10463

Do I Need An Attorney To Enforce An Alimony Or Spousal Support Order?

Not necessarily, but it is always advisable to (at least) consult with an attorney. One can file one’s own petition; the court forms are found at There are forms that are readily adaptable for orders to show cause, as well as petitions in family court. An individual can download these, complete the forms, and submit them to the court. However, it is wise to take thirty to sixty minutes to at least consult with an attorney for assurance the forms are completed correctly before submitting to the court. Many attorneys offer low-cost consultations. Although these forms can be filed by the individual, it is prudent to have an attorney represent them at all stages of legal proceedings, particularly where one is trying to enforce an order of the court.

Which Court Will Hear An Order To Enforce An Alimony Or Spousal Support Order In New York?

Either Family court or Supreme Court can hear that application unless the agreement or judgement states that Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear those applications. Reservation by Supreme Court is rarely seen; most divorce judgments are given a concurrent jurisdiction to both Supreme Court and Family Court, meaning it is up to the filer in which court to file the case.

Can Spousal Support Be Garnished From Wages In New York?

If a fixed dollar amount and timing of payment is captured within the judgment, an income deduction order can be issued by the court. For example, if the court orders the payment of $1,000 a month be paid on the first of each month, it is easy to draw up an income execution that then must be implemented by a court or attorney. It is possible to seek to register the spousal support order with collection units, specifying a dollar amount that is payable at fixed periods of time, though the court may take the stance that this will only be enforced if in conjunction with a child support order.

What Happens If I Can No Longer Afford To Pay Alimony?

In New York state, one would need to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the initial order or judgment of divorce, to effect change in the order. An individual would need to prove why their circumstances changed and that the change is no fault of their own; for instance, one was laid off and the job shipped overseas. In this example, it would be the responsibility of the paying party to demonstrate the change in employment and submit a diligent job search to prove to the court they have an inability to find work that is commensurate with their prior earnings.

The burden of proof is on the payor and modification is not generally granted upon their own say so. Very rarely will an order be outright terminated due to an inability to pay. Usually if one side files an enforcement application, and the defense is an inability to pay, then a cross motion or a counter petition asking for modification will be filed. The issues would then be intertwined, and the court would either find that they intentionally violated the order or that they are entitled to a temporary downward modification of the spousal support order.

For more information on Enforcing A Spousal Maintenance Order In NY, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080 today.

Law Offices Of David Bliven

Call Now To Schedule A 20-minute Case Assessment
Or Full 50-minute Case Strategy Consultation!
(347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080