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Can wages be garnished for alimony payments?

Your ex never wanted to pay alimony, or spousal support, and you know it. However, you gave up your career for that marriage, you don't have any income of your own, and the court awarded you monthly alimony payments so that you had some support. It was one of the biggest things you worried about ever since your now-former-spouse asked for a divorce.

If your ex never pays, can you have his or her wages garnished to make sure you get what is owed to you?

The short answer is yes. Wage garnishment is possible in Michigan and every other state. This is a popular tool to use because the money is simply subtracted from the person's wages by his or her employer. It's then sent to the court and then forwarded on to you. Since your ex never saw the money, there's no chance to keep it from you, and automatic payments start showing up every month.

That said, you can't garnish everything your ex makes. The limit is 60 percent if your ex is still single and has not married again. If he or she has gotten married and has a new spouse to support, that limit drops to 50 percent.

Odds are that both of those are over what your ex-spouse was ordered to pay, but you must remember that you may also be trying to collect back payments. If your ex falls behind by at least 12 weeks, you can get another 5 percent for each monthly garnishment. This will at least chip away at what is owed to you.

As you can see, it pays to know all of your legal options after a divorce, especially when your ex violates a court order.

Source: Livestrong, "Alimony Garnishment," Ciele Edwards, accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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