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Can I garnish my ex's wages to fulfill our spousal support order?

California courts may award spousal support when couples go through divorce. Like orders for child support, spousal support orders must be fulfilled as they are mandated by courts of law. When individuals fail to pay their exes pursuant to court orders, spouses expecting support checks may find themselves facing tough financial times.

Most individuals subject to making spousal support payments have their wages garnished to meet their legal obligations. According to the California Courts, when both child and spousal support is ordered a local child support agency (LCSA) may become involved and will see that the paying individual's wages are properly garnished. However, when no child support is included in an order a spouse expecting support may find himself working through garnishment paperwork on his own.

To file wage garnishment documents and secure court-ordered support from a former spouse, a person must fill out a variety of court forms. A family law facilitator can help a person make sure that the documents are properly prepared. Then the person must make copies of the documents and have the forms signed by a judge. The forms must be filed with the proper court clerk before the copies can be served on the paying spouse's employer and the paying spouse.

Proof of service must be provided to the court to ensure that the spouse subject to paying support was properly notified of the wage garnishment request. Improper service can delay or impede the enforcement of court-ordered spousal support. Once proof of service is prepared it must be filed with the court.

Getting a court order for spousal support is just the first step toward receiving financial sustenance from a former partner. While the information provided in this post presents an overview of the many steps required to garnish a former partner's wages for spousal support, it should not be read as specific legal advice. California attorneys who practice family law can help their clients work through the wage garnishment process to ensure that their spousal support orders are honored.

Source: California Courts, "Collecting a Spousal/Partner Support Order," Accessed on Oct. 8, 2014

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