Texas Court Order Enforcement

While the finalization of your divorce and custody agreement is a huge relief, problems can arise once again if your former spouse does not live up to his or her responsibilities under the agreement. When your ex-spouse fails to meet the obligations outlined by the court order, it’s easy to become concerned and even frustrated. Fortunately, you may have legal options available to you that can help you rectify the situation.

See: The Five Biggest Mistakes in Visitation Rights and Custody Enforcement

What Can Be Enforced?

Under Texas law, there are a few court orders that can be enforced if the other party is failing to meet the obligations set forth by the order. These include child custody orders, divorce decrees, alimony or spousal maintenance orders, and child support orders. For example, if your spouse is not paying the required amount of child support on time or is not dividing the marital property as outlined in your divorce decree, you can petition the court for them to be held accountable.

Some issues are not enforceable under the law because an individual cannot be incarcerated as a punishment for not paying a debt. For example, a court would not be able to enforce an agreement for one spouse to pay a specific debt, even if it is court ordered and listed in the original divorce decree.

Contempt Hearing

In order to determine if an individual has neglected the responsibilities set forth by the court order, a hearing must be held. These are generally known as contempt proceedings, and evidence will be brought forth to illustrate to the court how the defendant has failed to meet court ordered obligations. For example, if a child’s other parent failed to pay child support in a timely fashion, bank records could be shown to illustrate the lack of child support payments.

In some cases, the original court order is not clear enough to be enforced by the court, i.e., the order is missing specific details, like when the visitation periods are to begin and end, or where the parents are supposed to meet to exchange children. If an order is not clear enough to be considered enforceable, the court will most likely clarify the order and provide the defendant another opportunity to adhere to the order.

Consequences of Being Found in Contempt of a Court Order

There are numerous ways that a judge can impose consequences for an individual who has been found to be in contempt of a court order. The judge may order that the defendant’s wages be garnished to pay alimony or child support, or the judge may require that the individual submits to counseling. In many cases, although jail is an option, a judge will choose to suspend the sentencing in order to prevent the defendant from losing his or her job as a result of being incarcerated.

Contact Preston Park Today

When an ex-spouse fails to meet an obligation that has been ordered by the court, it is easy to become angry and overwhelmed. Neglecting court ordered responsibilities can cause an undue amount of stress on your family, especially during a time when you are trying to move forward after difficult family law issues.

Preston Park is an experienced family law attorney in North Texas, and he is committed to providing his clients with comprehensive, trustworthy legal representation in a variety of matters. He will fight aggressively for your rights under the law and will do everything possible to see to it that your case is resolved in a positive manner. Contact Attorney Park today for a consultation to discuss your legal needs and discover your next step.