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Private Spousal Support Enforcement?

Did you know that spousal support (often called “alimony”) can be enforced privately? Many people think that only the Friend of the Court may take action to enforce spousal support; that is not true. Any person who is owed spousal support, by court order, can take action, perhaps through a private attorney, to enforce and collect the money that is due. A spousal support order may be enforced through all collection remedies available on many other Michigan judgments, including liens against real estate, orders to seize property, wage and bank account garnishments, seizure of money or assets held by third parties, and perhaps, in appropriate cases, even receivership.

Private enforcement (such as through an attorney) may soon become even more important. The economic downturn may well have two effects on the collection of alimony. First, because the State’s budget is in trouble, alimony payments may be slow in coming, or may not come at all. Second, the Friend of the Court may stop providing spousal support enforcement services in cases that do not include child support enforcement.

So what’s an alimony recipient who is not receiving support to do? You may wish to contact a private attorney to discuss methods to collecting what is owed. And, you should check your judgment of divorce. It may entitle you to recover attorney fees and costs incurred in collecting what is due.

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