Modesto, CA asked in Divorce and Family Law for California

Q: My ex quit his job, long term spousal support in Ca has stopped. How do I get money owed?

Support was court ordered indefinitely for 27 year marriage. His employer would issue mandatory check to me when he got paid. He no longer works there. Do I have to petition the courts?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The meter keeps on running on spousal support until the judge changes the order. Even though you are not getting paid, the meter is still running and he is beginning to owe you what are called "arrearrages." If his income has dropped he can ask the court to lower or stop his support depending on how low it now is. But that is on him to ask for it to be lowered. You can expect him to do that as soon as you try to collect by another means.

The most common means to collect spousal support is through an "Income Withholding Order." That sounds like what you have now. Another method is garnishing his bank account if he has money in there. That requires going to the civil division of the sheriff's department in the county where he lives and filling out their forms. You would take a certified copy of the current spousal support order with you to the civil division of the sheriff. You have to know the name of his bank. Or you can hire an attorney to do this for you.

You mentioned 'his employer". If he was employed, he probably had a retirement account, a 401(k) or an IRA. If money was put into those during the marriage before separation, you are also entitled to part of those. If those were not divided in the divorce papers, it can still be done. You need to file a "Request For Order" to get that done.

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