In the event that your ex-spouse has violated a portion of your
Final Decree of Divorce it is likely that you will want to hold him or her accountable for having
done so. It could be that you were denied visitation with your child during
a time period that the court-mandated you be able to have him or her with you.
Or, an amount of
child support that you have the right to be paid on a monthly basis with either not
paid or not fully paid to you. Unfortunately, there is ample opportunity
for your ex-spouse to violate an Order that is as detailed and multi-faceted
as a Divorce Decree.
Fortunately for you, Texas allows folks in your position to file an
enforcementaction in a
family law court in an attempt to have the judge enforce the provisions of the Divorce
Decree that you believe have been violated. The results of your case are
dependent upon the preparation that goes into the process.
Your attorney and you are responsible for organizing and executing a game
plan in court on the day of your hearing. If you are not able to do so,
the past violations and wrongs committed against you may go unpunished.
Figure out what you want in your enforcement case
Simply being upset at your ex-spouse and wanting to see your child is not
a plan for success in an
enforcement case. Nobody is saying that your feelings are unjustified or off base. What
I am saying to you is that you need to use those feelings and combine
them with preparation and evidence in order to be successful in the enforcement hearing.
You will want to discuss with your attorney what you want to accomplish
in your enforcement. For instance, if you have not been paid child support
in six months you may be of the mind that you just want a lump sum from
your ex-spouse for the child support owed and nothing more. Or, if the
arrearage is significant you may also want the judge to be able to jail
your ex-spouse for a period of time as a result of his or her violations.
Has your ex-spouse made any direct payments to you that did not go through
the Child Support Registry of the Office of the Attorney General? You
will want to schedule a meeting with your attorney to sit with him or
her and go through your Divorce Decree.
The reason for this is so that you both can read through the expectations
for your ex-spouse and confirm that the violations have occurred in the
way that you believe they did.
An opportunity to settle and avoid court is possible in certain circumstances
It could be that you made a “deal” with your ex-spouse that
in exchange for not paying
child support he or she would do something else like pay for a semester of your child’s
school or repair a broken part on your child’s vehicle.
I’ve had an enforcement case where the father stopped paying child
support to our client due to his having mistakenly believed that he no
longer had to after the child turned 18. In fact, the order read that
the responsibility to pay support stopped after she graduated from high school.
A simple mistake led to several missed payments. In that instance, I was
able to speak to the other attorney ahead of our hearing and negotiate
a repayment schedule without ever having to see a judge. Your attorney
will need to know your order and the circumstances to prepare for a hearing
and to possibly seek a settlement in advance of a hearing.
Understand what happens once your case is filed
Once your attorney is hired he or she will handle the heavy lifting of
the case as far as drafting documents and filing them with the court.
That does not mean that you should not be aware of what is happening.
You should know that your ex-spouse will be served by a process server
or constable with the
motion for enforcement along with an order to appear at a date certain for a hearing.
Your ex-spouse will have the responsibility to respond to your motion for
enforcement and will likely hire an attorney. In the event that your spouse
attempts to reach out to you, it is up to you whether to communicate with
him or her. Certainly, if you both have attorneys an option would be to
have your communication go through your representatives. This is especially
true if your spouse is being belligerent or is otherwise engaging in offensive behavior.
Scenarios in resolving your Enforcement case
Answer has been filed by your ex-spouse and an appearance has been entered by
his or her attorney, you and your ex-spouse’s attorneys will likely
speak to one another about the case to discuss the issues and to see if
any pre-hearing resolution is possible. If you are dealing with an enforcement
regarding past due child support there are a range of outcomes in your case:
- Your case may go before the judge in a contested hearing
- Your ex-spouse may agree to pay all of the child support owed plus attorney’s
fees to you. This essentially ends the enforcement proceeding altogether.
- You and your spouse (through your attorneys) agree that he or she should
be held in contempt of court for violating the court orders
Your attorney will walk you through each of these possibilities. Before
agreeing to anyone some forward thinking about the terms for repayment,
the manner of repayment and the source of payment should be considered.
If your ex-spouse owes a great deal of child support but earns minimum
wages the question must be asked as to how he or she plans to pay that
money back. Do not agree to something just to avoid confronting your ex-spouse in court.
Questions about an enforcement action? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
An enforcement is one of the most specialized and unique of all family
cases and your attorney should have experience in representing clients
who have been in your position. The
family law attorneys with the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand the issues and law surrounding enforcement actions and have
successfully represented clients in court as a result. To schedule a free
of charge consultation with one of our attorneys please
contact us today.
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,
CLICK the button below to get your
“13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Texas Family Law Court: Enforcement Actions
- How much will your child support enforcement case cost?
- The Steps of an Enforcement Case in Texas family law court
- Reviewing your case history is crucial to success in an enforcement case
- Defending against an Enforcement Action in Texas
- 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?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Enforcement Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
order enforcement, it's important to speak with one of our
Houston, TX EnforcementLawyers right away to protect your rights.
enforcement lawyers in Houston 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
enforcement cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and