I never get myself into my tenants' business. Everything is kept on a strictly business basis. So..to answer your question: The proper way to seek your money is the one the law allows: I post a quit or pay notice. When asked by the tenant about it, I tell them that it is the first step to an eviction....posting that notice sets up my right to proceed to court to collect my rent money.
This is done without malice and without involvement in their family affairs (income to divorce).
The easy way to avoid this situation is to not allow the tenant to fall behind to begin with.