Open Accessibility Menu

Enforcement of Court Orders in Texas Family Law Cases

Protect Your Rights. Call: (713) 909-7323

Navigating the emotional turbulence of a divorce, child custody proceeding, or another family legal battle can be tough, but orders obtained upon the resolution of your case can provide a breath of fresh air and a plan for the future. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee a former spouse, co-parent, or another person subject to such an order will always comply with its terms and conditions.

So, what can be done when the other party won’t abide by the terms of your family law court order? In Texas, the way to approach this situation is through an enforcement action – known as a “motion for enforcement” under the Texas Family Code Chapter 157.

When handled successfully, an enforcement action offers a number of benefits. Although the ultimate resolution sought depends on your unique case, court order, and circumstances, enforcement actions can:

  • Ensure the integrity of a temporary or final order;
  • Punish a violation of the court’s order (by contempt);
  • Deter future violations.

Need to enforce a court order or defend against an enforcement action? Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. can help. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer.

What Can Be Enforced?

The Texas Family Code provides that either party subject to a temporary order or a final order can seek court intervention to enforce terms pertaining to:

Because court orders are binding legal agreements, it is imperative to understand the terms of any order to which you’ll be subject before signing off during a divorce, stand-along custody or family law case, or proceedings over modifications of existing orders. The smallest drafting error can make a provision difficult or sometimes impossible to enforce. It is therefore in your best interests to consult an experienced attorney to ensure you’ll be able to uphold your obligations, and that the order will be enforceable should the other party fail to comply on their end.

Another important note: family law enforcement actions in Texas are subject to a statute of limitations, meaning there is a time limit on when you can take legal action over a violation. Timely action is crucial to ensuring any motion for enforcement (or motion for contempt) you wish to seek won’t be barred by the statute of limitations, and that immediate relief from violations can be obtained.

Grounds for Enforcement

Circumstances which merit a post-decree or post-ruling enforcement action may include:

Consequences for Violations

The burden of proof falls on the petitioning party to show how the other party violated a provision of an enforceable court order. A well-prepared, evidence-supported motion is more likely to prevail, depending on the claims, and more likely to result in “consequences” for the non-compliant party.

In addition to being compelled into compliance or having court orders amended in favor of the petitioning party, there may be exposure to additional consequences, including potential criminal charges, fines, jail time, payment of attorney’s fees, or other relief deemed appropriate (“just and right”) by the court.

Because certain violations can be quasi-criminal in nature, a proper drafting of a motion for enforcement is crucial, as is decisive action to wage a defense if you are the party alleged to have committed the violation.

Relief for Violations

Often in enforcement actions, the court will rule not just on an enforcement, but also issue additional rules, formally clarify an order, or compel repayment for non-compliance.

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.

Family Law Enforcement Actions: Let Proven Lawyers Protect Your Rights

Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. has an active divorce and family law practice which prioritizes personalized working relationships and a dedicated focus on protecting clients’ rights and interests. Whether you have a potential enforcement action you wish to seek, or one which you must defend against, experienced representation can help you navigate the legal process ahead.

To speak with an attorney about your case, call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online.

Committed To Protecting Your Interests

Lawyer Consulting a Client
  • "I would highly recommend Ms. Cannon. She has such a profound knowledge of family law, she puts your fears at ease. Divorce, child custody or whatever the issue may be, Ms. Cannon will make you feel like you are her only client. Ms. Cannon represented me in a child custody issue I was having with my ex-husband. I obtained full custody (thanks to Lennea) of my daughter and the hearing could not have gone any smoother. She was prompt in responding to my emails regarding my case in a professional and truthful manner. If my rate scale is between 1 and 10, I give her an 11. I have nothing negative to say about Ms. Cannon. She is professional in every aspect and keeps you thoroughly updated on the status of your case."

    - Amy S.
Trusted for 25 years
Our Mission is to exceed your expectations, which means going above and beyond for you, not settling for 'good enough.' We focus on accomplishing your goals and objectives through relentless preparation, assertive action and uncompromising professional standards.

Contact Us Now

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.