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Enforcing a Court Order

Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas divorce lawyer, Texas family lawyerCourt orders are legally enforceable, which means that if a parent fails to comply with their terms, he or she can be held accountable by the court. Generally, this is achieved by filing a motion for contempt or a motion for enforcement by the wronged party. Filing these motions requires compliance with specific procedural rules, so if your ex-spouse is failing to abide by the terms of a court order by refusing to pay child support or spousal maintenance, you should contact an experienced complex divorce litigation attorney who can explain your legal options.

Filing a Motion for Enforcement

When a party is failing to abide by the terms of either a temporary or permanent divorce-related order, the other person can file a motion for enforcement. However, a court will only approve a motion for enforcement if it contains specific information, including:

  • The provisions violated by the other party;
  • A statement explaining how the respondent has failed to comply;
  • A statement requesting specific relief; and
  • The petitioning party’s signature.

If the petitioner is attempting to collect child support, the motion will also need to include:

  • The amount owed and the amount paid; and
  • An official record of child support payments.

In response, the court can order the defaulting party to pay what is owed in accordance with a pre-approved plan or subject the non-paying party to additional penalties, including fines and wage garnishment. However, it is much more common for these types of motions to be filed when one of the parents is failing to comply with visitation rights or to take a child to therapy as ordered, although they can also be filed in an effort to enforce a monetary order regarding the division of property in a divorce. If granted, the court can order the other party to turn over the proceeds of the sale of marital property or to close out a credit card. In many cases, a third party, such as a bank, can complete the action without any further need for cooperation from the defaulting party.

Filing a Motion for Contempt

When a party disobeys a court order the wronged party can also file a motion for contempt. This method is often used when an ex-spouse fails to pay the following costs as ordered by the court:

  • Child support;
  • Spousal maintenance;
  • Medical expenses for the child; or
  • Insurance premiums for the child.

These motions must be served directly to the non-complying party before the court will set a hearing. At the hearing, the petitioning party must provide evidence that the other person is not abiding by the terms of the order. If the non-abiding party cannot demonstrate that they were complying with the order or that there is a valid reason for not meeting the obligations, the court can order jail time or payment of a fine for each violation.

Call Today to Schedule a Consultation With a Complex Divorce Attorney

To speak with an experienced Georgetown complex divorce litigation attorney about your case, please contact The Law Offices of William D. Powers today. We are prepared to aggressively advocate on your behalf.

 

Sources:

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cs/handbook-for-non-custodial-parents

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.157.htm

 

The Law Offices of William D. Powers

8911 N. Capital of Texas Highway, Building 2, Suite 2105, Austin, TX 78759