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How Do I Enforce Spousal Support in California?

November 15, 2023, In Divorce

Our Los Angeles family law attorney at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, knows that, in some cases, one spouse agrees to, or is ordered to by the court, to pay spousal support to the other after a California divorce.

When that financial obligation is not met, enforcing spousal support in California involves legal actions to ensure the paying spouse complies with the agreement or court-ordered arrangement.

Here, our Los Angeles County spousal support explains how the monetary award can be enforced.

Enforce Spousal Support in CA

Review the Court Order

Start by carefully reviewing the court order outlining the spousal support obligations, including the amount, duration, and other specific terms, to ensure enforcement is necessary.

Document Missed Payments

Keep thorough records of any missed or partial payments. This documentation will be crucial when presenting your case to the court.


Attempt to communicate with the paying spouse about the missed payments before taking legal action. The issue may result from a temporary financial setback, and an agreement may be reached to address the arrears without going to court.

Contact Our Trusted Los Angeles Family Law Attorney for Help

If the paying spouse is not communicating or explaining why the spousal support payments have stopped or decreased, you can have the legally binding agreement or court order enforced.

Our experienced spousal support attorney in Los Angeles will:

  • File a Request for Order with the family court, a legal document asking the court to enforce the existing spousal support order.
  • Serve the Request for Order to the paying spouse according to California’s service of process rules. Proper service ensures that the paying spouse is aware of the court proceedings.
  • Request financial disclosures where both parties must submit updated financial disclosures to the court to help assess the financial circumstances of each party.
  • Present your case to the judge by fully outlining the need for enforcement.

During the court proceedings, the judge will rule on whether spousal support should be paid in full, addressing the arrears and future payments.

What Happens if the Paying Spouse Continues to Disregard the Court Order to Pay Spousal Support?

If the paying spouse disregards the court order, we may file for contempt proceedings. This involves demonstrating to the court that the paying spouse disobeyed the court order and that secondary enforcement must be implemented.

That may include seeking:

  • Wage garnishment through the court to issue an Income Withholding Order, directing the paying spouse’s employer to deduct spousal support directly from their paycheck. This helps ensure consistent and timely payments.
  • Property liens against the paying spouse’s property to secure the spousal support obligation.
  • Reporting spousal support arrears to credit bureaus, potentially affecting the paying spouse’s credit score.

Contact Our Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles, California Today

Consulting with our Los Angeles spousal support attorney will allow you to understand your rights, explore legal options, and navigate the enforcement process effectively to take the appropriate actions and protect your interests.

Contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.

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If you are considering a Divorce in Los Angeles, CA, Contact our experienced Attorney Today and Get a Free Consultation.

Give us a call 310-552-3505