One of the specialized areas of judgment collection in which our firm has high expertise is Spousal Support Collection and alimony collection. Evanns Collection Law Firm has been a top Spousal Support enforcement law firm / Alimony Enforcement Law Firm in Los Angeles for over 15 years.  We also recognized that, if you have not been receiving support justly owed, you also need an alimony law firm that can handle your case for little or no money up front.  Good news! The spousal support collections attorneys here at Evanns Collection Law Firm almost always work on a we-don’t-get-paid-till-you-get-paid basis.*

Spousal Support

Here at Evanns Collection Law Firm, we have expertise in the unique landscape of Family Law Collections, and we are keenly aware of the additional mechanisms and laws available under the California and Los Angeles Family Law Rules for enforcement of spousal support awards which are not available to enforce your “average” civil judgment.

Alimony enforcement and spousal support enforcement have a different landscape than civil judgments. We will outline below some procedures and laws, which we, as a spousal support attorney firm, utilize in spousal support judgment enforcement.  But beyond the legal and procedural differences of alimony judgment enforcement/Spousal support judgment enforcement, what often separates family law judgment enforcement from other judgments, is psychology.

So many times, support debtors would rather “die than pay the ex” – and would “rather pay lawyers a hundred thousand dollars than pay the ex a dollar”. These are the cases which separate a top spousal support enforcement lawyer from everyone else- the best alimony enforcement lawyer knows how to find the pressure points – and knows how to invoke the (sometimes drastic) powers of the family law courts, to bring the debtor into extremely uncomfortable circumstances, and sometimes, to the brink of financial extinction—in order to collect from the debtor who would “rather die than pay.”   Just one example of this is, in enforcement of alimony matters, multiple debtors have paid up only in the bitter end, because the judge was about to order the debtors entire business & livelihood to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, to pay the debt. (In one case, a medical clinic, in another case, a stereo manufacturer).  In other cases, the debtor can end up on the brink of going to jail, or even end up in jail. (See Contempt, below). A spousal support attorney’s’ ability to properly set up the case before the judge, so that these (oftentimes draconian) remedies can be invoked against the debtor, separates the best spousal support collection law firm from the rest of them. (And we like to count ourselves among the best.)

Alimony judgment collection and spousal support judgment collection are legally different than other judgment collection. In addition to psychology, Alimony order collections and spousal support order collections (and family law collections in general, including enforcement of equalization awards and enforcement of property division awards), have many special rules to help creditors enforce, and are different from regular judgments. Here at Evanns Collection Law Firm, because we have been a top spousal support collection law firm in Los Angeles for years- we know these rules inside and out. Below are some methods and procedures that an alimony collection attorney will utilize to collect spousal support and enforce spousal support arrearages (which is means collection of a lump sum of past due spousal support which has accrued due to debtor failure to pay, as opposed to monthly payments as they come due) in Los Angeles Courts. (Caveat, procedures for Los Angles Family Law Collections differ from enforcement in other localities) This is by no means meant to be a complete list of the differences in collection of spousal support and enforcement of family law judgments, a competent spousal support collection law firm should always be consulted before taking any legal actions are taken)

Special Laws and remedies applicable to collection of Spousal support and collection of alimony (And not to most other things).

  • Earnings assignment orders for support: An extremely potent tool of the spousal support enforcement law firm, these are extremely broad and sweeping orders which capture any income and earnings (not just wages) from any person or company paying money to your ex-spouse, including their own companies if your ex is self-employed- and if income is not paid over, the person or company failing to pay can be separately sued, and made to pay. (We can help with this too)  This remedy applies to ongoing support obligations, as well as to enforcement of back support and collection of support arrearages. (Not applicable to enforcement of equalization orders or collection of property division orders)
  • Contempt of Court: Another potent tool available to the spousal support collection attorney (and child support collector as well), contempt of Court is a remedy which can be sought any time a person willfully disobeys a court order. It is not available in enforcing a regular civil judgment, but it may be used to enforce a spousal support order or enforce an alimony order. Contempt proceedings ultimately can result in the spousal support debtor going to jail unless they start paying on the debt. When contempt proceedings start, you get the debtor’s attention, and all of a sudden, money to collect the outstanding alimony or spousal support order, which has been unpaid for months or years or even decadesmagically appears. (This remedy applies only to ongoing support obligations, and is not applicable to collection of equalization orders or enforcement of property division orders,)
  • Social Security & Government Benefits Garnishment, Tax Return Intercepts, 50% garnishment of wages, and a host of other differences in application of exemption statutes in support order enforcement/family law judgment enforcement, versus civil judgment enforcement:  Spousal support enforcement and alimony order enforcement, to put it simply, may be conducted against many assets which usually cannot be enforced against.  For example, most public benefits such as disability or social security cannot be enforced against in normal civil cases, but for child support they can be. Additionally, there are many other exemptions available to help debtors keep their money in regular civil cases, which are not available to help debtors in family support enforcement or alimony enforcement cases. And collection of other Family Law Judgments. [Such as Equalization award / Property Division judgment collections, collection of family law attorneys fees etc.]. To make matters more confusing, different varieties of family law awards can have different collection laws applied to each of them- some differences are subtle, others can be major. Spousal Support order collections specifically have different applicable exemptions from other family law judgment enforcements, such as collection of equalization awards or family law attorney fee awards. Child support and spousal support, also have different exemptions from one another. Collection of ongoing support orders, where monies are do each month, have some different remedies associated with them than collection of spousal support arrearages (which means a lump sum of back support due from a debtors failure to pay for a length of time). And regular civil judgments- are different from all of these. A non-comprehensive list of the differences between Support Order enforce
  • Retirement Benefits: This is probably the biggest and the trickiest realm, where enforcement of alimony orders, and enforcement of spousal support and family support orders, differs from most other judgments. [Note- Collection of Property Division Orders/collection of Equalization Orders, which are not support orders- normally cannot be enforced against retirements and have similar rules to normal civil judgments] Below are some, but not all, examples:
    • Public Retirements/Pensions: Under CCP 704.110, public retirement benefits are exempt from judgment enforcement, except in cases of collection of child or spousal support (including collection of back support and collection of arrearages)  If the enforcement is a family support obligation of some kind (remember, property division/equalization doesn’t count), then the amounts are exempt only to the extent the debtor “needs” the retirement money to provide for him/herself or his/her dependents. This means that, if your support debtor is “living large” in retirement- there is still a fair chance that, if done right, you may be able to enforce your current as well as back support orders against the debtor’s retirement income. Civil judgment creditors are totally out of luck, even if their debtor is living “the good life” off a fat retirement stipend and can easily afford to pay- the money simply is off limits unless it is a family law judgment for spousal support/alimony, child support, or judgment for support arrearages. 
    • Private Retirement Plans (SEP IRA’s, 401k(s), many other self-employed plans/annuities): Under the infamous CCP 704.115, “private retirement plans” – which include things like IRA’s/401ks, but can also include all sorts of other wacky things that debtors claim is “for retirement” – are generally off limits to creditors- again, except in cases of enforcement of spousal support, enforcement of alimony, child or family support – in which case, the debtor must show that he/she “needs” the retirement money, and only to the extent that debtor “needs” the money for retirement, will it be exempted. A Spousal support attorney must know how to deal with this.  

[NOTE! The Court can be very generous to a retired debtor in determining “reasonable need” because remember- this money is supposed to last debtor for, arguably, the rest of his/her life. This can be a complicated analysis, and sometimes expert witnesses may even be needed.  Retirement enforcement, even with support/alimony debt- can be a tricky, touch-and-go thing.]

“In a spousal support context, often times a debtor needs to be brought to the brink of complete financial extinction… in many times, the person that gets them to pay, it’s really not the law or the courts but it is the collection attorney who convinces them that the debt is owed. And it’s not the ex-spouse or the ex-spouse’s attorney but a third-party collection attorney who treats them with respect, treats them politely but still in no uncertain terms makes them realize what’s going to happen if they don’t pay.”

Let’s face it: Ex – Spouses not paying alimony are usually taking it personally. They refuse to pay a penny, and often, their attitude is “If you want me to pay, make Me” and we here at Evanns Collection Law Firm love when they say that, because we have dedicated our entire law practice and careers, to “making them.” In fact, it is our pleasure! This motto, combined with our knowledge of the law, makes Evanns Collection Law Firm a top law firm for enforcement of family law judgments. And, again- the spousal support and family law judgment enforcement specialists here at Evanns Collection Law Firm strive as much as possible to take your case with nothing out of pocket to you, where we only get paid when you get paid.*  So don’t wait any longer- call the Evanns Collection Law Firm now at (213)-984-2424 and start getting the money you are owed as soon as possible! *Representation agreements for each case are different, and may vary depending on the facts of your case

Written by Richard Evanns

Richard Evanns is a pre-eminent spousal support enforcement attorney and alimony enforcement attorney in Los Angeles. He has been enforcing family law judgments for over 15 years.  He has handled family law collections in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and surrounding. He is a speaker on collection topics to various organizations. Thompson Reuters Superlawyers® Rising Star®, 2017-2022, Superlawyer® 2024.



The answer is, loosely, that Spousal Support orders are similar to money judgments, and are enforced under Title IX of the code of civil procedure, applicable to judgment enforcement in general. However, there are many exceptions and differences in laws and procedures applicable to enforcement of spousal support/enforcement of alimony as well as enforcement of child support, versus normal civil judgments.


The answer to this depends-some people do not mind doing the work themselves, and are fairly good at doing the paperwork and levying and garnishing a debtors assets and wages, and taking other actions. However, if debtor starts getting crafty, especially if they hire their own lawyers- then it is best for most people to find a competent spousal support collection law firm to help them. The rule is, if the other guy does not have a lawyer, then you may not need one, but if the other guy has one, you are best off having one also. Don’t worry- here at Evanns Collection Law Firm, our alimony collection attorneys strive to take your case with nothing out of pocket to you.*


There are pros and cons to collection companies. A pro is that sometimes, they can charge less than family law collection law firms. Cons are, they are not regulated, so there is no California State Bar making sure they are doing their jobs correctly. Another Con is that, when an agency has to go to Court in front of a Family Law Judge, the judges oftentimes do not treat them very well and/or do not even understand what an agency is. Collection agencies fare much better in civil collections than in family law collections. Our advice is, try to stay away from agencies in family law enforcement matters.


Good news. Many people do not know this, but judgments in favor of one ex spouse against another ex spouse, do not expire.