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What do i do if my ex-spouse won’t pay alimony or child support?

What do i do if my ex-spouse won’t pay alimony or child support?
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

You fought hard, you fought fair, and you won. You made your case, and the judge agreed that you deserve alimony. You compromised with your ex-spouse and came up with a custody arrangement for your children.

But now your ex isn’t complying with the court orders. You’re not receiving alimony payments. The kids get dropped off a day after they’re supposed to. The child support check is always late. It’s maddening, and it’s frustrating.

What can you do now?

Your domestic law and divorce lawyer on the Axelrod team can help you to enforce the court’s orders and force your ex-spouse to make the payments and comply with the child custody agreement.


The judge who issued court orders in your divorce case issues hundreds of similar orders in other divorce cases each year. In fact, that’s probably what they’re doing right now. So, they will probably not be following up on your case to make sure everyone complies.

But, you can bring it to the court’s attention and force compliance by filing a “rule to show cause.” Rule to show cause really means: Rule to show cause for why your ex-spouse should not be held in contempt of court for violating the court’s order…

If your ex-spouse is not complying with a court order, call your SC divorce attorney at Axelrod and Associates immediately. We will investigate, collect witnesses and other evidence to prove the non-compliance, and prepare an affidavit or verified petition specifying what order has been violated and what you want the court to do about it.

We will make sure the rule to show cause is properly served to your ex and the hearing is scheduled. And we will prepare you for the required live testimony during the court hearing.

What are the Penalties for Not Complying with a Court Order in SC?

If the family court agrees that your ex has willfully failed to comply, they can hold your former spouse in contempt of court until they comply. The court may also impose sanctions on your ex, including:

  • Fines up to $1,500;
  • Jail time of up to one year;
  • Up to 300 hours of community service; and
  • Order them to pay your attorney’s fees and costs for filing the rule to show cause (we will have to request this in the affidavit).

What Do I Need to Prove in a Rule to Show Cause?

It is important to note that you will need to prove that your ex has failed to comply with an order willfully, and we can help you do that.

For example, to prove that you are being denied court-ordered visits with your child, you might bring a witness with you to an arranged visit to confirm that the child was not present. You may have recordings of conversations with your ex-spouse, voice messages, text messages, or emails. You can present bank statements and other evidence to prove that your ex-spouse has not been making the required payments.

But the failure to comply still must be willful. If the judge determines that your ex has failed to comply because of circumstances beyond their control, they may take steps to ensure future compliance but not impose any punishment.

When Should I File A Rule to Show Cause?

You should talk to your attorney about a rule to show cause if your ex-spouse is willfully non-compliant with a family court order by failing to:

  • Make child support or alimony payments;
  • Vacate the family home;
  • Comply with child custody orders;
  • Allow visitation with children;
  • Make mortgage payments;
  • Transfer property; or
  • Comply with any other court-ordered requirement, whether it is part of a temporary order or a final divorce decree.


If your ex-spouse is not complying with a court order, don’t hesitate to act. Chances are, if you do nothing about it, it will set a precedent – their bad behavior will continue and may even get worse.

Call your Myrtle Beach divorce attorney at Axelrod and Associates today at 843-916-9300 or fill out our contact form to set up an initial consultation to find out how we can help you to enforce alimony, child support, child custody, or child visitation orders.

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