Contempt Actions – Enforcing A Court Order

Texas judges don’t accept failure to comply with court decrees.
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It can be a frustrating experience having your ex refuse to comply with any of the requirements about possession or access, child support, and alimony stated in a final order after a lengthy divorce suit. Seeking contempt actions while enforcing a court order is a solution available to you if all other attempts to get them to obey orders have failed. The court may require the other parent to comply with the order. Otherwise, they can be subject to enforcement actions such as jail time as prescribed in the Texas Family Code.

Motion For Contempt

Supervised child visitations are one action Family Court Judges can impose for ex's that are not obeying visitation agreements.
Supervised child visitations are one action Family Court Judges can impose for ex’s that are not obeying visitation agreements.

A Motion for Contempt is filed with the Texas court if your ex is not following court orders. This is common when your ex does not pay for child support, your child’s medical expenses, or spousal maintenance.

The Motion for Contempt must be served to the person in violation of the court order with sufficient notice and the hearing date will be set. You will need to state all the occurrences of contempt and provide evidence. You must prove that your ex could follow orders but willfully chose not to. The other person will have to appear in court.

They may attempt to give reasons why they were unable to follow the order. However, they will need to show they made reasonable efforts but were unable to follow the orders for any reason. Otherwise, they may be subject to contempt actions while the courts are enforcing the court order.

Motion For Enforcement

Texas court enforcement can include wage garnishment.
Texas court enforcement powers can include wage garnishment.

Filing a Motion for Enforcement seeks to make the other person comply with a court order for child custody, support or alimony. This might be used when the other person refuses to follow court-ordered possession and access. Alternatively, a person might refuse to turn over proceeds or close bank accounts during the property division process. The judge will order the other person to complete the action required. In some cases, especially with property division, the court can order third parties such as banks to complete the action.

Penalties For Contempt of Court

For a person held in contempt, the court might order civil contempt or criminal contempt penalties.

The Texas judge may order jail time or a fine for the parent who violated the court order. In this situation, the case will typically go to trial. The party involved will have the right to engage an attorney.

Alternatively, a contempt order might include community supervision. This is a suspended sentence as long as the parent complies with certain conditions. Conditions can include paying their overdue child support and attorney’s fees, seeking counseling, or getting employment assistance services.

Alternatively, the judge may order that the parent in violation give the other party additional parenting time for not meeting custody and visitation requirements.

When Is A Court Order Enforceable By Contempt?

Texas Family Courts contempt powers can take the extreme measure of arresting someone for the habitual and flagrant ignoring of court orders.
Texas Court can jail offenders for habitually and flagrantly ignoring court orders.

The language of the court order must be specific enough for all parties involved to understand what is required from them before it can be enforced. For example, child custody and visitation orders must indicate clearly the visitation period and the time and place of exchange.

You must also be clear that the other party showed a failure to obey the orders. Otherwise, it might not be a good use of your time to file a motion.

You must show that you have fulfilled all of your responsibilities needed to allow the other party to fulfill their own. You should also have attempted other remedies before you can enforce order through legal means.

Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review

If you need help to file a motion and seek enforcement, let the award-winning Family Law attorneys at Sean Lynch + Associates help you prepare your legal case. We have decades of experience in family law.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review and learn how Tarrant County Family Court can enforce your court order.

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