For the most part thus far in our discussion on enforcementlawsuits in Texas family lawcases, we have gone over some of the finer points associated with issues related to parents and children.
Whether it is back child support, visitation order violations and remedies available to parents who file enforcement actions children have been the centerpiece of each of the prior four parts to this series of blogs I’ve written.
Today we are going to shift gears and discuss remedies that are available to you if you file an enforcement action in regard to the division of property in a divorce decree. For many persons your divorce decree did not have all that much to say about property since you may or may not have owned much along with your spouse during the course of your marriage.
However, it could be that there was quite a bit of detail to your sections dealing with community property and the separate estates of both you and your spouse.
If you find yourself in a position where your spouse is not abiding by some provision set forth in your divorce decree related to property division then this blog will hopefully have some information that is helpful to you.
Specifically you may be wondering what a court can do for you if it has been a few years since you were even in court. Let’s get into some of those remedies that you may be able to take advantage of should you be successful in a potential enforcement case.
Delivering the property to you from your ex-spouse
This is a pretty straightforward remedy in my opinion. If in your divorce decree you were either awarded a physical piece of personal property or a specific amount of money you can be awarded that sum of money or piece of property in an enforcement proceeding.
From my experience most spouses follow through with orders from a court and will transfer the property and/or money that he or she was ordered to within a reasonable amount of time after their divorce.
However, it could be that your spouse is the exception to this and you have been waiting years to receive property or money that is rightfully yours.
Money judgment in lieu of property
In some instances you may have been awarded a piece of personal or real property in a divorce decree where your spouse was required to transfer ownership to you. Suppose in the interim time period that the piece of property was either destroyed, wholly lost or in the case of real property condemned or bought by the government via eminent domain or a similar process.
In the event that the property as stated in your divorce decree no longer exists, do you still have a remedy to have this issue address by the court?
Thankfully, yes you do. A court can award a money judgment against your ex-spouse for the failure to timely transfer the property to you as ordered in your divorce decree.
A lien may be put in your ex-spouse’s property, money may be garnished from his or her pay or any other remedy available to a civil court in the furtherance of the collection of a debt may be utilized.
A court may clarify a prior order
As it happens, sometimes your divorce decree may not be entirely clear what is being ordered to be done as far as the transfer of property.
The conditions in regard go the property division of your community estate can be crucially important in many instances and if the language in your decree is not clear both you and your spouse may be unable how to proceed. If this occurs, you may lose out on money, property or both that rightfully should be yours as a result of the divorce.
If this situation happens to you, a contempt order may not be possible in an enforcement case because the language of the original order was not clear enough to be acted upon by your ex-spouse. This is sort of a get out jail free card (literally) for your ex-spouse.
In the event that this occurs, you may file an enforcement action and seek that the court issue additional orders clarifying what had been previously ordered in regard to property division.
These new orders would, in theory at least, be clear enough so that your spouse can actually follow through and abide by whatever was ordered in your divorce proceedings. Your spouse would then have a set period of time in which to abide by the order or risk being found in contempt of court.
Attorney’s fees and other court costs
This is a subject that I will often be asked questions about during consultations by potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.
If you are basically forced to file an enforcement against your ex spouse because he or she is not following the rules as set forth in your divorce decree, how is it fair that you should have to pay an attorney to do so? If not for the violation of the court’s orders you would not have had to go through the trouble of hiring a lawyer.
I can let you know that a court can order your ex spouse to pay a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees and court costs if you ask for it in your petition for enforcement. A judge will evaluate the situation and make a determination on a case by case basis whether this is an appropriate remedy or not.
While it is not guaranteed that your spouse will end up paying your attorney’s fees it is always worth pleading for and asking the court for the ability to do so.
Interested in learning more about enforcement actions in Texas family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Thank you for the opportunity to share some information about enforcement proceedings in Texas family law. If you would like to learn more about this type of case or believe that you are in need of an attorney to file an enforcement please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Five
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Four
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Three
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law: An Overview
- Child Support Enforcement Defense - Act Sooner Rather than Later
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.