Thank you for coming back to the blog for the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan to read more about
family lawcourt. Today’s post will discuss how to defend yourself against an enforcement
action based on the failure to pay
We will then get into what you can ask a court to do to ensure that future
child support is paid to you as ordered and how to go about collecting previously unpaid
amounts of child support.
Defenses against enforcement actions for the failure to pay spousal maintenance
If you are ordered to pay an ex spouse
spousal maintenance and at some point in time stop doing so, your ex spouse has the right
to file an enforcement petition against you. However, as we noted in yesterday’s
blog post that dealt in the area of
child support defenses you are not completely out luck if you have not been keeping up with your
court ordered obligation.
Just as in
child support matters, you can have a legitimate inability to pay the spousal maintenance as
ordered. If you have an inability to pay due to not having any income,
no property that can be sold to make up the difference and have not been
able to borrow money to pay the spousal maintenance then you can have
the lawsuit filed by your ex-spouse dismissed.
If you find yourself in a position where you will be needing to defend
yourself based on these sort of reasons be prepared for your ex-spouse’s
attorney to serve you with discovery requests in order to verify that
you have no additional sources of income or property from which your spousal
maintenance obligation can be met.
In a recent case, our office had filed an
enforcement suit based on an opposing party’s failure to pay spousal maintenance
as he had been ordered to do. In his Answer he noted that he had no sources
of income to pay the
Immediately I requested tax returns and other financial documents be submitted
to me for review. Eventually we learned that this gentleman had real estate
holdings that were more substantial than even our client had speculated.
Rather than proceed to court with this rickety defense the gentleman and
our client came to a settlement on the amounts that were previously due.
To the victor go the spoils: how to collect on a judgment in a child support
If you go through with an enforcement hearing and are successful in your
attempt to prove that the other parent does in fact owe child support
then you may be wondering how to translate that victory into actually
getting money in your pocket. In the State of Texas there are multiple
avenues for collecting on a
child support judgment.
Income withholding is probably the most straightforward approach to take.
For more people who are not self employed, a court can place a
withholding order on his or her paycheck where that money can be transferred to you.
The idea is to have the amount owed in child support paid off within two
years after the judgment is entered through an income withholding ordered.
If your opposing party is self employed then a court may order him or
her to pay payments directly to you in order to pay the arrearage.
Child Support Liens
A lien may be placed on the property of a person who owes child support
as well.This can cover personal as well as real property owed by the other
parent in your situation.
A remedy such as this has a bit more moving pieces than a straight income
withholding remedy so you would probably be best served discussing this
potential option with your attorney before requesting that it be put in
place upon the order of a court.
A lesser known but powerful tool for ensuring that past amounts of child
support are paid is suspending any licenses held by child support obligors.
You would need to file a separate petition to have the licenses filed
and then serve notice to the parent who owes the child support of what
you are attempting to accomplish.
In the event that he or she responds to your petition a hearing would be
held in order to determine whether or not it is appropriate to suspend
a license given the facts and circumstances of your case.
What sort of licenses may be suspended? Driver’s licenses, as well
as many professional licenses like those for physicians, engineers and
attorneys can be suspended by submitting an order from your family court
to the body that issues a particular license.
Child support amounts owed must be equal or greater than three months old
and the parent who owes the money must have been given an opportunity
to make payments in order to get current on these amounts. If there has
been an continued failure to make payments under the structure of a court
order then any licenses that can be suspended under state law may be in
line for possible suspension.
Other instances that can potentially warrant the
suspension of a license include circumstances where an enforcement order has been in place and
the other parent has failed to comply with those provision that are related to
possessionand access of a child.
If your child’s other parent hasn’t been abiding by the possession
schedule in your first order and still hasn’t followed it after
a subsequent enforcement hearing then license suspension may be on the
table as an option to pursue.
Still more to come on the subject of Enforcement suits from the Law Office
of Bryan Fagan
There are additional remedies for persons who are successful in their enforcement
suits and I will spend at least one more blog post on them for those who
are interested in returning to the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan in the next few days.
If you have questions about any subject that we’ve discussed so far
please do not hesitate to
Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. A licensed
family law attorney is available six days a week to discuss your case and to answer questions
in a free of charge consultation.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
If you want to know more about how to prepare,
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- 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
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
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.
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,
Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and