Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two

If you missed part one in the series of blog posts from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC on Enforcement suits in Texas family law then I suggest you scroll up to yesterday’s post and read over our introduction on this subject. I think you’ll learn a considerable amount.

Today’s post will continue discussing this subject and will get into the specifics of attempting to enforce a court’s order related to child support, visitation, spousal maintenance and a few other areas as well.

Child Support Enforcement Essentials

If your ex-spouse is not paying his or her child support on time or isn’t paying at all then your enforcement suit would likely center around evidence showing these missed or failed payments.

To start, quote or reference the specific portion of the order that specifies the monthly payment amount.

Then, clearly state the actual amount of child support paid, if any, and the amount still owed by subtracting these two numbers. You must do this math yourself; the judge will not calculate it for you. Provide the court with these specific numbers for review and consideration.

Enforcement Essentials in Areas Other Than Child Support

Math is crucial in child support: you subtract the paid amount from the required amount by a specific date. Violations of other court order areas matter too, requiring less math but equal attention to detail.

To enforce non-child support laws, follow these steps:

  • Identify the specific court order provision that has been violated. Usually, it’s sensible to copy the section directly from the order and paste it into your enforcement suit, leaving no doubt about the referenced section.
  • Specify how the noncompliance occurred. For example, if your ex-spouse didn’t pick up your child on his weekends for two straight months, state this in your motion.
  • Clearly state the relief you seek from the court. It can range from additional time with your child to compensate for missed opportunities, to jail time for failing to pay child support. You must make your request clear to both the opposing party and the court.
  • Your attorney must sign the enforcement suit before filing it with the clerk and serving it to the opposing party.

Filing Deadlines on Enforcement Suits

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two

Different enforcement actions in Texas family courts have varying filing deadlines. If you’re enforcing child support provisions, you must file your lawsuit no later than six months after:

  • The child reaches adulthood.
  • Child support ends under the law, typically at eighteen or after high school graduation.

Understand this: No deadline exists for filing enforcement suits for unpaid child support. You might owe long after your child’s minority.

We discussed jail as a penalty for unpaid child support. Other penalties include fines, attorney’s fees awards, and driver’s license loss.

The court can target your paychecks and tax refunds to settle any child support arrears.

Property Division in the Context of an Enforcement Suit

You have two years from the signing of your divorce decree to file an enforcement lawsuit if your spouse failed to follow the decree’s property division orders.

You must file the enforcement within two years of the property’s existence if it wasn’t there when the order was signed but exists now.

How do you cover Spousal Maintenance in a Texas Enforcement Suit?

Texas state law sets no specific timeline for enforcing spousal maintenance.

This means you can file or face a suit for spousal maintenance arrears anytime after the order’s signing. I have personally seen several spousal maintenance claims that clients needed to file due to someone’s failure to pay spousal maintenance correctly or at all.

If your ex-spouse suddenly stops paying your spousal maintenance, you can file an enforcement suit regardless of how long ago the court signed your final decree.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC’s series on Enforcement suits to be posted tomorrow

Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two

Enforcements are a serious matter and as a result we will need more time to discuss these issues. Please come on back tomorrow to read our third post this week on this subject.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC represents clients across Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family. Please contact us today to set up a free of charge consultation to discuss your questions and to ask one of our licensed family law attorneys to tell you more about our office and the services we provide to clients.

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  1. Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law: An Overview
  2. Child Support Enforcement Defense – Act Sooner Rather than Later
  3. Can my Texas Driver’s License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
  4. Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
  5. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  6. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  7. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  8. Texas Child Support Appeals
  9. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  10. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  11. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  12. How to get above guideline child support.
  13. When does your duty to pay child support end in Texas?
  14. Should a Divorced Parent Sign a Waiver (Release) and Indemnity Agreement to Allow a Child to Participate in Recreational Activities?


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