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Can extradition be used to enforce alimony payments?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2021 | Family Law |

For some divorced people in Maryland, the conflicts will continue after the decree is issued, including when one party fails to pay spousal support. Non-payment of spousal support, or alimony, can have increasing consequences, with extradition for non-paying people who have left the state where the order was issued, as a rare last option.

How alimony payments are enforced

When the court issues an order for spousal support, the payer is responsible for making those payments. If that person fails to pay or even moves out of state to stop payments, the state has options for ensuring that the person resumes payments. These options include:

  • Garnishing the non-paying person’s wages
  • Issuing contempt citations
  • Requesting extradition from another state of the non-paying spouse

UIFSA and extradition for non-payment of family support

Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, all states can extradite a person for failing to make family support payments including alimony. However, this is not an automatic process. For extradition to begin, the state with jurisdiction over the case must make a formal request for extradition. Since there must be evidence that the person being requested for extradition has been charged with a crime, had escaped justice and has been found in another state, the requesting state must also include a copy of the court indictment for failure to pay or an affidavit. Extradition will usually come, however, after the state has filed paperwork with the other state to garnish the non-paying person’s wages there and to issue the contempt citation. What the other state cannot do, however, is to modify the spousal support order.

The rules are slightly different if the payer was living in the other state when the original support petition was made. In those situations, jurisdiction over the case will be determined individually.

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