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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 110436
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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What happens to me if I stop paying alimony?

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What happens to me if I stop paying alimony? best case scenario? Worst case scenario?


I live in Florida and the ex lives in Tennessee.


The best case scenario, they would issue a garnishment of your wages or levy of your bank accounts and possibly even seize any personal property and seizure of your income tax refunds. The worst case scenario is that the court can hold you in contempt of court and issue a warrant for your arrest and they can jail you for non-payment of spousal support, which by the way does not wipe out the support you owe because when you come out of jail you still have to pay the arrears. Courts are just not very forgiving with not obeying their orders I am afraid and many times they do make ridiculous orders for support that are not realistic based on the paying spouse's real ability to pay and the only option you have if they denied your modification is pursuing an appeal to the District Court of Appeals.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As I mentioned, I live in Florida and the ex lives in Tennessee so if the court in Tennessee holds me in contempt will I be arrested in Florida?


If I don't go back to Tennessee how can the court issue a garnishment on my wages in Florida? (according to my first laywer, most of my possessions, including wages are protected under FL law and Florida won't extradite me for missing some alimony payments)


The divorce decree was issued in Tennessee and I'm living in Florida now so I'm just trying to get some kind of idea what I should prepare for. I don't plan on going ever back to Tennessee.


Can my ex move the case to Florida? if so, what exactly is the process to do that?




If the TN court would issue a warrant for contempt and would enter it into the National Criminal Information Computer (NCIC) and it is up to the TN court to decide whether or not they are willing to extradite you to TN from FL or wherever you are found.

If TN agrees that they will extradite you then the warrant can be executed in any state where you are found by the police. So, if your attorney told you there was no way they would come and get you in FL, I am afraid he was misspeaking because we get these cases all of the time and we do see people arrested and extradited for non-payment of alimony or child support, it all depends on the individual situation.

Yes, most of your assets are exempt in FL for garnishment and seizure for most debts, but your assets are not safe from debts for child support or alimony or government debts under FL law. You alimony debt would be an exemption to the exemption of garnishment of wages of head of household member which exists under FL law, so while normal debts in FL are exempt from garnishing wages, your alimony would be an exception to the FL law protecting 100% of the head of household's wages from garnishment.

Your ex can take the garnishment order from the TN court and file it in the FL court under the Comity Clause of the US Constitution, which states that the courts of all states give full faith and credit to judgments from other states and also under the interstate agreements regarding enforcement of alimony and spousal support. She would file a petition to recognize foreign judgment in the FL court and file a true copy of the TN order for garnishment and the FL court will have to enforce the TN order as written I am afraid.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If my ex took the garnishment order from the TN court and filed it in the FL court... could I then seek to get the alimony modified here in a Florida court?



No, I am afraid that her filing for enforcement of a TN court order only allows the FL court to enforce the order, the TN court is the only court that can modify their court order I am sorry to say.
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