Courts will typically issue various kinds of orders in divorce or other family law cases. When one of the parties involved in the legal case does not comply with a court order, the other party may have to bring it to the court’s attention.
In order to get a court to enforce an order, you will typically need to prove that your spouse has violated the court order. In most cases, people will either file a motion for contempt or a motion for enforcement. Do you need assistance enforcing a court order in your divorce or family law case in Harris County? Contact The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible to learn how we can help.
Overview of Enforcement of a Court Order in Harris County
- Types of Enforceable Family Law Orders in Texas
- Motion for Contempt vs. Motion for Enforcement in Texas
- Enforcement of a Court Order Resources in Harris County
Types of Enforceable Family Law Orders in Texas
The Supreme Court of Texas has held that it is “an accepted rule of law that for a person to be held in contempt for disobeying a court decree, the decree must spell out the details of compliance in clear, specific and unambiguous terms so that such person will readily know exactly what duties or obligations are imposed upon him.” In other words, most court orders that clearly state expectations of the parties involved can be enforceable in Texas.
Some of the most common kinds of court orders that may be enforced in Texas include:
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
- Property division
- Spousal maintenance/alimony
- Protective orders (restraining orders)
Motion for Contempt vs. Motion for Enforcement in Texas
When a spouse is in violation of a court order, the other spouse will need to file an appropriate motion in the court that issued the original order. When a person files a motion for contempt, he or she will need to identify the portion of the order that was violated as well as the dates of all violations. Contempt violations may be punishable by possible incarceration and fines.
The Texas Family Code establishes that a motion for enforcement can be filed to enforce any provision of a temporary or final order rendered in a suit, and the court can enforce by contempt any provision of a temporary or final order and enforce a temporary or final order for child support. A motion for enforcement must, in ordinary and concise language:
- identify the provision of the order allegedly violated and sought to be enforced;
- state the manner of the respondent’s alleged noncompliance;
- state the relief requested by the movant; and
- contain the signature of the movant or the movant’s attorney.
Texas Family Code § 157.002(b) further provides that a motion for enforcement of child support:
- must include the amount owed as provided in the order, the amount paid, and the number of arrearages;
- if contempt is requested, must include the portion of the order allegedly violated and, for each date of alleged contempt, the amount due and the amount paid, if any;
- may include as an attachment a copy of a record of child support payments maintained by the Title IV-D registry or a local registry; and
- if the obligor owes arrearages for a child receiving assistance under Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, may include a request that the obligor pay the arrearages in accordance with a plan approved by the court; or if the obligor is already subject to a plan and is not incapacitated, the obligor participate in work activities, as defined under 42 U.S.C. Section 607(d), that the court determines appropriate.
Motion for contempt orders for failure to comply with the order of possession and access must be filed within six months of a child becoming an adult or rights of possession and access terminating under the order or by operation of law.
Motion for contempt orders for failure to comply with the child support order needs to be filed within two years of a child becoming an adult or the date on which the child support obligation terminates under the order or by operation of law. Under Texas Family Code § 157.005(b), the court retains jurisdiction to confirm the total amount of child support arrearages and render a cumulative money judgment for past-due child support when a motion for enforcement requesting a cumulative money judgment is filed not later than 10 years after the date the child becomes an adult or on which the child support obligation terminates under the child support order or by operation of law.
Enforcement of a Court Order Resources in Harris County
Texas Family Code | Chapter 157. Enforcement — View the full text of Texas state laws relating to enforcement actions under this chapter of the Texas Family Code. You can learn more about pleadings and defenses, procedure, and hearing and enforcement orders. The statutes also contain information about judgment and interest, child support liens, and habeas corpus.
Confused About Contempt? Prosecuting and Defending Enforcement Cases — View a paper originally written in 1999 to discuss contempt in Title 5 cases but since revised extensively to include more about visitation enforcement and other enforcement remedies available in other types of family law cases. The paper was presented at the University of Texas School of Law Parent-Child Relationships Conference in 2010. The paper discusses what is enforceable and what is not, preparing a motion for enforcement, and types of contempt.
Contact Court Order Enforcement Attorneys in Houston, TX
If you need help enforcing a court order in your divorce or family law case in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure you have legal representation. The Gonzalez Law Group assists individuals in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood, and many others.
Our lawyers in Houston are committed to helping you achieve the most favorable possible resolution to your case. You can have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (832) 530-4070 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.