Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Six

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Six

Welcome to Part Six of our insightful series on Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law. In this installment, we explore the critical aspects of navigating these complex legal waters. Whether you’re facing enforcement challenges or simply seeking to understand the nuances of Texas family law, this article provides essential information and expert guidance to help you effectively manage these situations.

Enforcement Suits in Texas Divorce: An Overview

For the most part, thus far, in our discussion on enforcement lawsuits in Texas family law cases, 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, or remedies available to parents who file enforcement actions, children have been the centerpiece of each of the last four parts of 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 regarding the division of property in a divorce decree. For many persons, your divorce decree did not have all that much to say about the property since you may or may not have owned much along with your spouse during 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 outlined 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

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Six

This is a pretty straightforward remedy in my opinion. You can secure the money or personal property awarded to you in your divorce decree through an enforcement proceeding. Typically, most spouses comply with court orders, transferring the mandated property and money within a reasonable time post-divorce. But if your spouse is an exception, leaving you waiting for years for your rightful property or money, you have options.

A Money Judgment Instead of Property

If your divorce decree awards you personal or real property and mandates your spouse to transfer ownership, but the property gets destroyed, lost, or in the case of real property, condemned or government-acquired through eminent domain or a similar process, you can actively seek alternative solutions.

If the property as stated in your divorce decree no longer exists, do you still have a remedy to have this issue addressed by the court?

Thankfully, yes, you do. A court can award a money judgment against your ex-spouse for failing to timely transfer the property to you as ordered in your divorce decree.

You may place a lien on your ex-spouse’s property, garnish money from their pay, or use any other remedy a civil court offers for debt collection.

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 regarding the property division of your community estate can be crucially important in many instances. When 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 due to the divorce.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might not be able to obtain a contempt order in an enforcement case due to unclear language in the original order, which your ex-spouse couldn’t act upon. This ambiguity can act as a literal get-out-of-jail-free card for your ex-spouse.

In such cases, you have the option to file an enforcement action and request the court to issue additional, clearer orders regarding the previously ordered property division.

Theoretically, these new orders should be clear enough for your spouse to understand and comply with the directives from your divorce proceedings. Your spouse must adhere to the order within a specific time frame, or they risk facing contempt of court charges.

Attorney’s Fees and Other Court Costs

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Six

Potential clients often ask me about this topic during consultations at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

When you need to file enforcement against your ex-spouse for not following your divorce decree’s rules, it seems unfair that you should have to pay for an attorney to enforce these terms. 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 decide on a case-by-case basis whether this is an appropriate remedy or not.

You may not be guaranteed to have your spouse pay your attorney’s fees, but you should always plead for this and ask the court to allow it.

Interested in learning more about enforcement actions in Texas family law? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

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 need an attorney to file enforcement, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week.


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  1. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Five
  2. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Four
  3. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Three
  4. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two
  5. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law: An Overview
  6. Child Support Enforcement Defense – Act Sooner Rather than Later
  7. Can my Texas Driver’s License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
  8. Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
  9. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  10. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  11. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  12. Texas Child Support Appeals

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s essential 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 the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, 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.

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