Failing to pay spousal maintenance on its own is not something the Support Collection Unit (“SCU”) currently enforces.
If you are a married couple seeking divorce and have children, your spousal maintenance order can be coupled with the child support order – something SCU does enforce – and your spouse will be responsible to honor both. This is the way the vast majority of custodial parents collect their support.
To avoid a sticky situation, you will want to have two specific dollar amounts denoted in your judgment of divorce: one for child support and one for spousal maintenance. This will ensure the spousal support will be collected by the Support Collection Unit.
If you do not take this course of action, you have greatly limited any actual legal recourse at your disposal. The only way you could collect your maintenance would be to initiate traditional debt collection efforts.
Using this approach, you’d have a judgment in your favor and could garnish that person’s wages. (This is the typical and recommended method in these situations). For any arrears that build up, you can also:
- collect it out of bank accounts;
- start seizing assets
- go back to family court and get a money judgment for any arrears.
Family court does have jurisdiction over violation or enforcement cases on maintenance so long as a specific dollar amount is included in your judgment. You will need your attorney to draft the judgment correctly and include the specific dollar amounts of child support and spousal maintenance in the judgment. Failing to do this restricts the potential enforcement of your spousal maintenance.
Do Spousal Support Matters Have To Be Finalized Prior To The Granting Of A Divorce In New York?
Spousal support matters do not always have to be finalized prior to finalizing a divorce. Technically, you could say in the judgments that you are going to reserve your right to request spousal maintenance at some future point. Practically, this doesn’t serve either party’s best interest since it leaves the potential for things to be reopened and undergo litigation in the future, but it is technically possible.
Theoretically, there could be a particular reason you would not want to resolve all issues pertaining to spousal support prior to being granted a divorce and rather do so in family court. For example, you could already have a pending case in family court.
If so, you could put that in both your settlement agreement and your judgment of divorce and state that you are agreeing to resolve issues in the pending case. Other than this type of situation, it is a very rare instance under which maintenance would not be resolved in the divorce case itself.
While falling under the same branch of the court in the State of New York, spousal support is different from child support in this manner. Child support is required to be resolved in a judgment of divorce.
For more information on Failing to Pay Spousal Maintenance In NY, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (347) 797-1188 today.