Texas Court Order Hearing

Steps of an Enforcement Case in Texas Family Law Court

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Is your ex-spouse violating the terms of your court order decree? If so, you can order the court to enforce your rights. Denial of financial support after a divorce can be devastating, especially for the custodial parent. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get the money, property, and custody time you’ve been assured.

As you could imagine, Texas Family Court does not take lightly people who disobey their decree. Failing to adhere to a court order can result in criminal penalties, including jail time. Still, court orders aren’t always easy to enforce. When your rights are being dismissed, you must motion to enforce them.

Even if your motion for enforcement seems straightforward, it can be fraught with legal complexities. This is why it’s crucial to hire an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney. Whether you’re a custodial parent not receiving maintenance payments, or a noncustodial parent being denied child visitation rights, we can help.

Steps of an enforcement case in Texas court

From start to finish, the motion for enforcement process takes around a month. Here’s how we can work together, client and attorney, to enforce your Texas court order and hold your ex accountable.

Hire a family lawyer to file your enforcement motion

As mentioned earlier, holding another party accountable for violating a family court order isn’t always a slam dunk. Even when the violation is clear, it’s essential to hire an attorney with experience in enforcement cases. Even the smallest mistakes and paperwork issues may derail your motion to enforce. As a custodial parent, do you really want to take that chance?

With our affordable attorney’s fees, you don’t need to worry about enduring your enforcement case alone. Our award-winning family law firm will review your case and recommend the best course of action. In many cases, the best next step will be filing a Motion for Contempt. If we find that your order cannot be enforced, we’ll recommend other corrective action.

Document every court order violation

Before you motion for enforcement, it helps to have detailed notes of the specific transgressions your ex committed. Keep a log of every court order violation, including each time the person has:

* Denied your visitation or possession rights as a parent
* Violated your child custody schedule
* Failed to remit payment of court-ordered spousal support (and the amount)
* Failed to remit payment of court-ordered child support (and the amount)
* Other court order violations

Remember to jot down every date and time. Also, write down the names of witnesses. Being able to include these records as evidence will help strengthen your motion for enforcement case. Additionally, it will help ensure that your ex is held accountable for every enforceable count of contempt.

File a motion of contempt, also known as a motion of enforcement

If taking legal action is the best move, we will file a Motion for Contempt with the court clerk. In state court, this is a common practice for enforcing a court order. Contempt of court may be filed for many reasons, but in most cases, it’s for one of the following:

* Failure to pay spousal or child support to a custodial parent
* Being denied visitation or possession rights

Each court order violation may result in a “count” of contempt. If the Texas judge agrees that your ex-spouse is disobeying your court order, they can be held in contempt of court. This will mean the spouse is required to provide back pay for all scheduled payments they missed. You can also seek additional civil or criminal punishments, including up to 180 days of jail time.

Provide notice of contempt

After we file the motion for enforcement in court, the person will be notified of the charges they face by a process server or a constable.

After the notification is delivered, 21 days must pass before a hearing can be set. This gives the other party enough time to review each specific count of contempt and to plan their defense. Even if your ex refuses the notice you have options.

When the trial is scheduled, the defendant is served a Notice of Hearing. Once this happens, it sets the stage for the motion of enforcement hearing to begin.

Continue to prepare for our enforcement hearing

Now that your ex-spouse is aware of the specific counts of contempt, we have three weeks or longer to build our case. If your hearing is related to child custody issues we have a good guide for you to read.

This is where your notes from Step 1 will really come in handy. If it helps our case, we may request your witnesses to appear in court to testify on your behalf. Having this outside perspective can be extremely valuable.

As your family law attorney, we will also prepare you to testify. Delivering testimony can be a stressful experience, especially for first-timers. We’ll coach you on what to expect, what to wear, and what to say. In short, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

Our experienced Tarrant County family law attorneys have assisted clients through many enforcement cases over the years. We know what it takes to maximize your chances of success. 

Appear in court for your enforcement hearing

While any trial is nerve-inducing, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. You designated lawyers for a reason. We will shield you from the most complex aspects of the trial and only engage you when needed.

During the hearing, we will present our findings, as well as the relief and remedies we seek from the other party. The only time you may need to speak is when you’re testifying. Your job then will simply be to answer questions truthfully. And remember, we will rehearse with you so that you’re well prepared.

Once all the evidence has been presented, and the defendant is given an opportunity to dispute, the judge will make their decision. If the judge rules in your favor, our Fort Worth family law attorneys will draft an order that both parties and the judge must sign.

Judge’s Ruling

After all the evidence has been submitted, their ruling. This ruling will be based on whether there was a clear violation of the court order. Other factors may also be considered, including whether the violation was intentional and part of an extended pattern.

If the judge does not rule in our favor, or if the judge rules the order is not enforceable, it’s not final. We can always appeal the decision or explore other legal alternatives. If you have any specific questions, address them to your attorney, who can explain the reasoning, implications, and potential next steps.Consultation with an attorney

Enforce Your Texas Court Order With Our Fort Worth Family Law

At Sean Lynch, our seasoned lawyers take pride in fighting for families in court. We offer transparent, affordable pricing as well as a no-cost initial consultation. We always fight to make sure your best interests are served, and your rights are enforced.

Don’t let your ex-spouse get away with violating your court order decree. Contact our office or call 817-668-5879 to begin your motion for enforcement. We have an excellent track record when it comes to court orders in Texas. You’ll be happy with your choice to consult with our award-winning Tarrant County family law practice.

Pandemic Change for Texas Divorce

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Image of judge using the gavel while wearing surgical gloves to protect himself from the new coronavirus.
The pandemic has changed the Texas divorce rates and processes, and could impact your marriage, too.

COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, including divorce. Here are a few things to know about the pandemic has changed divorce proceedings and court orders in Texas—and about how the pandemic may be affecting your marriage.

The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that courts should not hold nonessential proceedings in-person. This means your hearing will probably be held online.

You should also know that the pandemic has caused a backup in the court system. This means it may take longer to get a hearing date. And if you insist on having an in-person hearing, you may have to wait even longer.

One option is to consider mediation. A mediator works with many couples to establish terms they both can agree on. A mediated settlement can speed up your divorce and perhaps reduce your costs. You also may be able to hold the mediation online.

Divorce Court Orders Still Apply During the Pandemic

While court proceedings have changed, court orders have not. For example, the established period of possession still stands. Also, a stay-at-home order does not override any custody exchanges.

If both partners agree to it, you may be able to hold child visitations online and you need to cooperate with your ex. However, we suggest you consult with your attorney first.

To repeat: Unless a court order has been legally amended, you must still comply with it during the pandemic.

The Pandemic Can Lead to Parenting Conflicts After the Divorce

Speaking of children, one potential issue during the COVID-19 era is parent disagreements. For example, one parent may be comfortable having the kids do in-person school, while the other is not. Or one parent may be opposed to letting the child attend a friend’s birthday party.

We encourage parents to try to work together as much as possible. You may need to apply for a modification to custody orders to protect your child during this time. However, if the two of you are not able to find a mutually satisfactory solution, you should consult with a family law attorney.

Is the Covid-19 Pandemic Affecting Divorce Rates?

In addition to being a public health crisis, the pandemic has created an emotional health crisis for many couples. Husbands and wives are struggling to cope with many challenges and are dealing with change. This includes unemployment or reduced income, school closures, backlogged health care providers, homelessness, changing relationships, and even getting a divorce during pandemics.

Making matters worse, COVID-19 has made it harder for people to socialize. So they are spending less time with the friends and family who would otherwise provide them with support.

Simply put, the pandemic has taken a toll on people, and it can take a toll on marriages, too.

For example, if one partner is suffering from anxiety, depression, or unemployment, it puts an added burden on the other partner. This can result in a previously healthy marriage suffering. On the other extreme, if one of the two partners was already considering divorce, the additional time spent together may have reinforced their desire to end the marriage.

There is conflicting data on whether the pandemic has caused the divorce rate to drop or increase. Regardless, we want you to be sensitive to any impact COVID-19 may be having on your marriage. If you are concerned, we encourage you to consider meeting with a qualified therapist. Marriage is not always easy, and in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be even more difficult.

Here are some other reasons why many couples are getting a divorce during the pandemic.

Unmet Expectations

Some parents might have realized their spouse isn’t as caring and nurturing to the kids as they expected. Other parents might have expected the working spouse to spend more time with the children and help out around the house while working from home, but it didn’t happen.

Even a couple without kids might have found they don’t enjoy spending as much time together as thought. Families can struggle with unmet expectations relating to spending more time with each other. At the same time, couples could delay their divorce if they think it will be difficult to be alone during a lockdown or social distancing measures.

Unmet expectations can cause a strain in family relationships. This can lead a couple to make the decision to divorce during a pandemic.

Communication Issues

The lack of communication between couples can become a more serious problem during a pandemic. One spouse may not know how to ask for help when they need it.

This problem arises especially when one partner has an increase in their domestic workload compared to the other partner. Working mothers sometimes now have to shoulder more parenting duties with online schooling, on top of their work. If they do not communicate their needs to their husband, they can grow resentful. This gets worse when they see their husband relaxing around the house and not offering any help, while they struggle to balance the needs of the kids and work. The other spouse might also find that their spouse is not giving them any attention, which can strain the relationship.

In a healthy relationship, a married couple would communicate effectively and avoid withdrawing from discussions about things that bother them. They can resolve conflict in a healthy matter. They do their best to agree on what each person needs to do to hold the family together during a difficult time.

Families that are unable to communicate during these difficult times can opt to get divorced instead.


Finances are a huge source of stress for many people who are finding themselves having to take pay cuts or losing jobs. One spouse could be demoralized if they’ve prided themselves on earning money for their family, while the other spouse can be stressed out about managing a tighter family budget. Couples can fight over how to spend the money they have and clash over financial priorities.

The new challenges of finding ways to make ends meet can also put a strain on many family relationships and cause marital problems.

Acting On Something They Already Intended To Do

Couples may already have intended to get a divorce or separation but never got the push to take action or had the time to seriously think about going through with it. Living at home together during quarantine may have confirmed to people that they do not want to stay in the marriage. The thought of continuing to live together for possibly a year or more with restrictions may have pushed people to get divorced and end the marriage.

Different Life Goals

The proximity of living together during the lockdown period can lead people to reconsider their life with their partner. A nagging feeling about how the both of you have grown into different people and want different things in life can trigger you to think about divorce and take action, especially in a time when many people realize their lives can be disrupted at any time.

Daily interaction between couples can also cause them to get on each other’s nerves or become disillusioned with each other as they realize they cannot live with the behaviors and beliefs of their partner every day. Some may think they would not have gotten married to the same person if they could choose again. Couples may consider divorce as a form of escape from their partners to build a new life for themselves.

Inability To Access Support Systems

Many people may have used to go out or spend time with friends as a way to cope with stress in the relationship or deal with marital problems. However, social distancing guidelines and lockdowns during the pandemic may have forced married couples to confront their differences without social support. If couples are unable to resolve their issues, they are likely to opt to get divorced instead.

Mental Health Issues

When one partner suffers from poor mental health as a result of the pandemic, it can put a lot of strain on the other partner if he or she does not have enough support. For example, one partner might have developed an anxiety disorder and the other person has to handle everything as well as cope with the situation alone during the quarantine. People who have to run the household, take care of other family members, and handle the kids can be exhausted. They are likely to ask for a divorce or separation as a result if they just have had enough.

The divorce process can be very long and difficult. You will need to work with your spouse to agree on child custody arrangements and property division. If you and your spouse don’t agree, then the process can drag out over a longer time with the judge deciding property division and child custody arrangements according to Texas law.

If you’re already thinking about divorce, start preparing your finances and reaching out to a lawyer for advice about the best arrangement for your children. You need a qualified attorney who is experienced in the process and who can fight for your rights.

Here to Help When You Need Us

At Sean Lynch, we have more than 10 years’ experience in family law. We are experts in divorce, child custody arrangements, and amending court orders. We provide honest and affordable legal representation while striving to make the process as smooth as possible. If you have questions or concerns, we offer a no-cost 30-minute consultation. Give us a call today at 817-688-5879.

Common Custody Hearing Issues

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Custody hearings, despite not being long, require preparation and legal help.

Even though a child custody hearing usually lasts only about 20-30 minutes, it can be the most important half-hour of your life as a parent. Here are some common issues relating to custody hearings.

Attending The Custody Hearing

Unfortunately, the courts will sometimes schedule a hearing at a time that’s inconvenient for you. You should not ignore the notifications of a hearing.

Failing to appear in court could result in serious consequences, including having less time with your children. The courts are obliged to act in the best interest of your children. Shirking a court date could signal to a judge that you’re not a responsible guardian and lead them to issue an order that is not in your favor.

In some cases, a court may be willing to reschedule the hearing or, in some rare instances, change the venue so that both parents can attend. Another option is for a parent to attend the hearing via a phone call or video.

It might also be advisable for someone who receives notice of a child custody hearing to get in touch with a family law attorney for legal advice. The lawyer could review the client’s case and make recommendations regarding ongoing child custody and support issues. Legal counsel may also be able to work with the other parent’s attorney and the court to arrange for appropriate representation at hearing dates.

Factors Considered During A Child Custody Hearing

In Texas, the state courts generally prefer to award joint custody to both parents. One parent will have primary physical custody of the child while the other parent has visitation rights.

Some of the factors that a judge will consider include:

  • Best interests of the child
  • Parent’s lifestyle, physical health, and mental health
  • Parent’s ability to provide a good environment for the children
  • Relationship between the parents and child

Some questions you can expect from a judge during a child custody hearing are likely to relate to:

  • Financial status
  • The custody arrangement that you are proposing and why it is in the child’s best interest
  • Current custody arrangements
  • Communication with the other parent
  • Plans to move away with the child
  • Domestic violence and substance abuse
  • Aspects of personal life that can affect the child’s home life

Experienced attorneys can help you to structure your answers well so you can express yourself clearly and support your answers with facts. This will be important in cases when both parents are not in agreement about child custody arrangements. You can also find out about what judges will look out for in a hearing.

Here are some specific details on common custody hearing issues that you need to know.

Financial Status

You may need to prepare information about your income and financial obligations such as debt to provide to the court. The judge will use this to determine if you have the financial ability to provide for your child’s needs.

If you are not the custodial parent, you will also have to pay child support. The judge will use your financial information to determine the amount of child support you are able to pay.

Type Of Custody Arrangement

The family law court typically prefers a joint custody arrangement. It is usually in the best interests of the child to maintain a relationship with both parents. However, if you are fighting for sole custody, you will need to provide evidence on why that is best for the child. You may want to work with a divorce lawyer to prepare your case.

You may also be asked questions about the appropriate visitation schedule that you think is best for the child. Visitation is one of the most common issues in child custody cases.

Communication With the Other Parent

The judge will take the quality and frequency of your communication with the other parent into account. If the state courts order joint custody, you will need to communicate regularly with one another about decisions and issues pertaining to your children and find common ground.

Current Custody Arrangements

If you already have a custody arrangement with your ex after having lived apart for a while, the judge may ask about it to understand what’s working and what’s not working at the moment.

The judge typically may not want to interfere with something that’s working and that both parents are in agreement on. They may order a similar arrangement in the final court order.

During the trial, the judge will often also gather testimony from child psychologists, Child Protective Services, family members, and other witnesses to get more information on the common custody hearing issues discussed. The wishes of your child may also be considered if they are at least 12 years old.

Tips For A Child Custody Trial

Do not insult the other parent even if it is a bitter divorce. This will leave a bad impression during the trial which can affect your case. Work with your legal attorney to learn the best way to present your case in a factual and objective manner, although you’re pointing out why the other parent is not the best person to take care of your child.

Dress professionally for the courtroom and your divorce lawyer can advise you on what would be considered appropriate attire to present a positive image. The judge will feel confident that you can be a good influence on your child and see your case more favorably.

Observe etiquette. Any inappropriate behavior can cause the judge to lose confidence in you even if your divorce lawyer has built up a strong case.

Final Custody Order

At the end of the trial, the judge will make the decision on the custodial parent. The other parent will receive visitation rights. Attorneys and parents will need to come to an agreement for a visitation schedule that is fair to both parties. The judge will issue a final court order with their decision.

You have the right to appeal the legal decision if you do not agree with any of the terms. However, appealing often does not mean you get a new judge to review your case. You may not be able to submit new information. Many times, appeals courts only review the decisions made in cases to determine if the judge made any legal errors.

The child custody hearing is important when you’re fighting for legal custody of the child or trying to get a fair visitation schedule that allows you sufficient parenting time with your child.

Let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch law firm help you prepare your legal case. We can give you more information on common custody hearing issues.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.