With a Florida divorce, often comes obligations for alimony, also known as spousal support, by one of the parties to the other party. Usually the financially stronger spouse will be paying the spouse with less financial wherewithal.

As reported by Forbes, it is not unusual for the obligated party to fail to pay the other party. This could be due to job loss or developing financial problems, or simply out of spite. Delinquent alimony

Many ex-spouses fail to abide by the financial requirements in their divorce settlements and court orders. This is often the case when it comes to alimony. If the non-payer has a retirement pension through an employer, the other spouse may be able to utilize the laws concerning Qualified Domestic Relations Orders to ensure a later piece of that pension. However, many people do not enjoy employer provided pensions anymore. If a spouse has no discernable income to garnish, how does the other ex-spouse protect his or her financial rights to payment?

Social Security garnishment for delinquent alimony

What many non-payers or defaulting spouses may not realize is that a court that ordered alimony can also order garnishment of Social Security payments. The garnishment applies to retirement or disability benefits, for purposes of paying outstanding alimony debt to the ex-spouse. This can involve current or future Social Security benefits.

The general rule that Social Security benefits are off limits to commercial creditors, even those with court judgments, does not apply in a few distinct situations. Alimony is one of those exceptions. Child support is also an exception to the no-garnishment-rule on Social Security benefits, as are federal debts, such as federal taxes and federally backed school loans.

If the spouse that owes alimony wishes to appeal the garnishment, he or she must do so through the state court that ordered the valid garnishment. The Social Security Administration does not hear such appeals.