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Seizing property for unpaid spousal support

When married couples in Clarksville choose to separate, alimony may not automatically be awarded to one of them. The court will take a number of factors into consideration when determining if one party should receive such a benefit. Information shared by Time Magazine shows that only about 400,000 Americans receive some form of spousal support. Yet while alimony may not be mandatory in every divorce case, those who become subject to a court order calling for it are legally obligated to pay. If they do not fulfill the obligation, the law has created a number of different methods through which an obliged spouse can collect any arrears.

One such method is through the seizure and/or sale of an obligor’s property. The Annotated Code of Tennessee shows that in cases where an arrearage has occurred in an order demanding the payment of support, an additional administrative order can be issued for a designated party to take possession of an obligor’s assets. The law states that all assets are available for seizure, including:

  •          Personal property
  •          Real property
  •          Deposit accounts

Whomever is designated to receive an obligor’s assets must hold them until all due process procedures owed to the obligors have been completed.

The obligor does not have to be notified prior to the seizure of his or her assets. Notification may be sent as many as five days after having issued the notice authorizing the action. That notification shall contain the total amount owed in arrears, a detailed list of the assets seized, and information detailing the obligor’s right to the contest the seizure.

Once all due process has been met or waived, the one holding the assets will then convey them to the department of human services. At that point, they can be disposed to satisfy the arrearage.


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