Our discussion is essentially a continuation of the past few day’s blogs, so I would highly encourage you to go back and read through each to have as much knowledge at your disposal as possible.
If at any point you have questions about today’s blog or any other found on our website, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to schedule a question and answer session with one of our licensed family law attorneys.
Remedies for parents who are owed child support
This section sticks out in my mind because I have seen opposing parties withstand these remedies due to their not having paid large amounts of child support. We’ve discussed previously that enforcement actions in Texas take on aspects of not only civil law but criminal as well.
That concept comes into play when a judge hands down jail time due to your child’s other parent’s failure to have paid proper amounts of child support to you when those amounts are due.
Being found in criminal contempt means potential punishment that cannot exceed 180 days in county jail.
The punishment can be less than 180 days, but it cannot exceed that amount. Also, your opposing party can be fined up to $500 per violation of the court order as well. You shouldn’t necessarily expect that this type of punishment will be handed down in your enforcement case, but it is a possibility.
If you have correctly pleaded for jail time for the opposing party in your case, a judge can choose to award that remedy for you. An alternative is to sentence them to a period of jail time with the end of the sentence to be suspended if they meet specific benchmarks set forth by the court.
Often in the area of child support payments, that means simply being able to pay towards those arrearages or attending therapy or counseling sessions if violence or other issues are in play for your particular case.
Remedies for Violations regarding Visitation orders
Just as we have seen in the area of missed child support payments, judges can award a relatively wide range of remedies to persons who file cases like these. Let’s take a look at them in some detail here.
Suppose for a moment that your child went over to their other parent’s home for a weekend of visitation. At 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, you expected to have your child return to your home only to find that the other parent never arrived at your home.
When you called the other parent, your call was not answered. Since then, you have received a text message that only said your child would be staying with the other parent and would not be returned for a few days.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, your best remedy may be to file an enforcement suit with a habeas corpus request for relief included. The court that handed down your order has the ability and authority to put a stop to this sort of scenario when your ex-spouse has kept your child past their court-ordered period of visitation. Habeas corpus translates to “bring me the body”- this is what the judge would, in effect, be saying to the other parent.
Certainly, jail time and contempt of court proceedings would be appropriate considering the seriousness of what the other parent has done in this sort of hypothetical situation.
However, what you want to achieve- the safe and immediate return of your child- would not necessarily be performed by fining your ex-spouse and having them thrown in jail to think about their actions. In a pretty extreme situation such as this, a habeas corpus action is more in line with your goals.
A visitation remedy for out of state parents
Suppose you recently moved to Texas and your child is from another state. In that state, you and your child’s other parent had gone to court for a divorce which included orders associated with visitation of your child.
Now that you have moved to Texas, you came to learn that while at school, your child was checked out by his other parent with the intent to return to your state of origin. This is a hazardous situation, and you need to know what can be done in Texas to help you get your child back.
Fortunately for you, Texas has joined with almost every other state in our country and has agreed to abide by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
Essentially, the state of Texas will now recognize and enforce orders from another state’s court regarding child custody and other matters. What this means is that if you fear that immediate harm could befall your child, you can request that a court in Texas issued a warrant to find your child and take possession of him and keep him in Texas. You would need to provide evidence to the court sufficient to have that warrant be issued, however.
More on the subject of enforcement actions to come tomorrow
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, appreciates your time and attention as we move through additional remedies available to parties through enforcement actions in Texas Family Law Courts. Tomorrow a blog post will be published on our website that details remedies related to property division from a divorce decree.
Our office is proud to represent clients across southeast Texas. If you have a question about anything you’ve read on our website, please do not hesitate to contact our office today. A free-of-charge consultation is available to you six days a week in which your questions can be answered by one of our attorneys.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Understanding the Pillar of Individual Liberty in the Justice System
- 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
- In Texas, are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- When does your duty to pay child support end in Texas?
- What is the average amount of child support per child?