For many of those who have been through a divorce in Plantation, the money received from alimony may be their primary means of support. Alimony itself is not meant to be a lifelong source of income for those who are entitled to it, but rather a means to help them compensate for their lost marital income until they can secure gainful employment. Yet for the 400,000 people that Forbes Magazine reports as receiving alimony in the U.S. as of 2014, any missed payments can quickly put them in dire financial straits.
Thus, the law has created enforcement methods that can compel those who have alimony arrears to pay them. One of the most often utilized is a wage garnishment (where garnished funds are automatically withdrawn from one’s paycheck). Section 61.12(2) of Florida’s statutes says that the court can indeed issue a writ of garnishment requiring the repayment of unpaid alimony. This law authorizes the court to either garnish wages periodically, or on continuous basis for as long as it sees fit. Salary and wages are not the only income sources that can be garnished; the court can order that funds be withdrawn or withheld from pension funds as well as spendthrift trusts.
Some may say that the law prohibits the paycheck of one who is a head of household from being garnished. While that is true in many cases, alimony is one of the few exceptions to this rule. Others may try to argue that garnishing one’s wages will create tension between an obligor and his or her employer. That tension may then result in the employer firing him or her, and thus eliminating his or her income. The law states, however, that an employer who fires an employee due to a garnishment action would be found to be in contempt of court.