When someone goes through the emotional process of a divorce or a family legal battle, the last thing they want to deal with is someone not complying with the court order. But it happens.So, what can be done when a party won't honor your court order? In Texas, the way to approach this situation is through an enforcement – enforcing the court orders.
Benefits of Enforcing Your Court Order:
- To ensure the integrity of orders of the court
- To punish a violation of the court’s order
- To deter future violations.
What Can Be Enforced?
It is important to know what the court will and will not enforce. The Texas Family Code provides that either of you can seek court intervention to enforce official documents and agreements as enumerated in final order of the Court, which may include division of property, spousal support, child support, possession and access, and other contractual provisions. On top of this, the court will also help you seek relief for situations involving child custody with possession and access to your children, demand for child support payments, and the desire for restraining orders to be respected.
It is very imperative to understand the terms of your final order before signing off. The smallest drafting error can make a provision difficult or sometimes impossible to enforce. It is therefore beneficial to retain the benefit of an attorney to make sure that a final order is enforceable. It is also important to understand that enforcement actions are also subject to statute of limitation. Need to speak to a family law attorney about your case? Contact Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. Call (713) 909-7323 or complete an online form 24/7.
Grounds for Enforcement:
Some circumstances that merit an enforcement action after the Court signs an order may include:
- Failure to pay debts as ordered
- Failure to sell or refinance an asset
- Failure to pay spousal maintenance
- Failure to pay child support
Consequences for Violation:
The burden of proof falls on you to show how the other party violates an order of the court. Because certain violations of an order of the court can be quasi-criminal in nature, a proper drafting of the petition for enforcement is crucial and a step that is not to be taken lightly. Some of the consequences for violating a court order may be jail-time, fines, requirement of posting a bond, attorney’s fees, or other relief that the court deem appropriate (or “just and right”).
Relief for Violations:
Often, the court will rule not just on an enforcement, but also issue additional rules, clarify an order, or repayment for transgressions. For instance, if your child was unjustly kept from you during designated visitation times, the court can mandate additional visitations to make up the lost time. If the court issues a finding on contempt, the court also orders the party at fault to pay for attorney’s fees.
Enforcement of Court Orders - Our Houston Family Law Firm Can Help
Dealing with the aftermath of your divorce, especially with an uncooperative ex-spouse, can be an emotional and stressful situation. Here at Hendershot Cannon Martin & Hisey, P.C., we want to help you understand the options available to you and we want to assist you through the enforcement process. For more information about enforcement for divorce and child custody, please contact us and we'll be happy to help.