Welcome to the fourth installment of our insightful series on Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law. In this segment, we delve into the complexities and nuances of these suits, offering clear explanations and expert insights to guide you through this critical aspect of family law. Whether you’re a legal professional or navigating personal challenges, this article is tailored to provide clarity and understanding in the intricate world of Texas family law enforcement.
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 a court orders you to pay spousal maintenance and you stop doing so, your ex-spouse can file an enforcement petition against you. However, as noted in yesterday’s blog post on child support defenses, you’re not completely out of options if you haven’t kept up with your court-ordered obligation.
Like in child support cases, you might legitimately be unable to pay the ordered spousal maintenance. If you lack income, have no sellable property to make up the difference, and can’t borrow money to pay the spousal maintenance, you can get your ex-spouse’s lawsuit dismissed.
If you need to defend yourself for these reasons, prepare for your ex-spouse’s attorney to serve you with discovery requests, verifying that you have no additional income sources or property to meet your spousal maintenance obligation.
In a recent case we handled, we filed an enforcement suit against an individual for failing to pay spousal maintenance as ordered. In his Answer, he claimed he had no income sources for the maintenance.
I immediately requested his tax returns and other financial documents for review. Eventually, we discovered that he had significant real estate holdings, more substantial than our client had anticipated.
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 Enforcement Case.
If you go through with an enforcement hearing and are successful in your attempt to prove that the other parent does 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. If you are not self-employed, a court can issue a withholding order to transfer money directly from your paycheck to you.
The court aims to ensure payment of the owed child support amount within two years of entering the judgment through an income withholding order. For a self-employed opposing party, the court may order direct payments to you to cover the arrearage.
Child Support Liens
The court may also place a lien on the property of someone who owes child support. This includes both personal and real property owned by the other parent in your case.
Considering the complexity of a lien compared to a straightforward income withholding, it’s advisable to discuss this option with your attorney before requesting its implementation in a court order.
To ensure child support payment, you can suspend a delinquent parent’s licenses. Start by filing a petition and notifying the owing parent. If they reply, a hearing will decide on suspending the license, based on your case’s specifics.
License suspension can affect driving and professional licenses, like for physicians, engineers, and attorneys. Submit a court order to the licensing body to start. Child support must be three months overdue for this action. The parent must also have had a chance to pay up. Continuous payment failure could lead to license suspension under state law.
License suspension can also apply if a parent disobeys possession and access orders. If the other parent ignores both the original and enforced possession schedules, consider license suspension as a recourse.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan
There are additional remedies for persons who are successful in their enforcement suits. If you have questions about any subject we’ve discussed so far, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. A licensed family law attorney is available six days a week to discuss your case and answer questions in a free-of-charge consultation.
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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
- When does your duty to pay child support end in Texas?
- Should a Divorced Parent Sign a Waiver (Release) and Indemnity Agreement to Allow a Child to Participate in Recreational Activities?
- What is the average amount of child support per child?
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.