A police officer in a courtroom being asked about enforcing a family court order

Can the Police Enforce a Family Court Order?

Family court orders help ensure that each family member meets their obligations to one another and that the more vulnerable family members have the security they need.

When a parent fails to fulfill their obligations, the people who rely on them suffer. If you’ve found yourself in this situation where the other parent is not upholding their end of the bargain, you may wonder what you can do to force compliance. For example, you might want to know the answer to a common question: Can the police enforce a family court order in Texas?

The answer is complex, so I’ll unpack some key details in this article. Remember that law enforcement officers are primarily tasked with enforcing criminal law. In many instances, however, officers find themselves in family law territory being asked to help one party make the other comply with a court order. That’s where I’ll focus so that you can find answers.

Family Court Orders and the Police

A judge can issue many different orders while adjudicating family law matters. Violations of these orders carry severe repercussions. In some situations, the police will become involved in the enforcement of the original order.

1. Spousal Support Order

Judges often issue spousal support orders in divorce cases that require one spouse to provide regular financial support to the other. Can the police enforce a family court order in Texas when your ex-spouse is not making their payments?

Violating a judge’s spousal maintenance order can lead to a contempt charge, which can end in jail time and fines. If so ordered, the police will arrest the person who failed to make payments and bring them before the court.

So, in a way, the answer is yes, that the police can enforce a spousal maintenance order. However, there’s no guarantee that the individual will make their payments once they get out of jail. That’s why you need to work with a family law attorney to enforce the original order.

2. Child Support Order

Can the police enforce a family court order when it is a child support order? As with spousal support orders, violating child support orders opens an individual up to contempt charges and the potential for jail plus fines.

A judge will not favor an individual who fails to support a child with regular payments, as it would not be considered in the child’s best interest. Police may get involved if the violation is severe and transitions to a larger offense.

3. Child Custody Orders

Can the police enforce a family court order when it is a child custody order? Yes, they can. Will they enforce it? Maybe. Interference with child custody is a crime and gives law enforcement officers the power to arrest non-compliant parents under certain circumstances.

According to the Texas Penal Code, interference with child custody is a felony punishable with time in prison. Parents who knowingly violate their child custody order or take a child when they do not have legal custody may be arrested for the crime.

However, some police departments avoid family disputes and will refuse to enforce a child custody order without some accompanying aggravating factor, such as kidnapping or the child being in danger.

With that being said, if you’re having problems with a parent who you believe has violated the child custody agreement, it may still be appropriate to call the police. Even if the police decide not to enforce the order, the subsequent police report may become a vital piece of evidence at some point in the future.

Find Help from an Experienced Family Law Attorney Who Cares

Family law issues strike at the core of our beings. I have helped numerous clients deal with the difficult situations family law issues create, and I can help you.

If you’re having problems with a non-compliant ex-spouse, then you should know that the police are not always the most effective method of forcing an individual to comply. Can the police enforce a family court order? Maybe. But a family law attorney can help you work within the legal system to help create stricter guidelines and a more permanent solution for the other parent to follow.

As your representative, I will fight to compel compliance using one of the various avenues offered by the court, and I will not rest until your case is resolved.

If you need an experienced attorney with an exemplary track record, then reach out to me for support. I currently help residents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with these types of cases. If you live in one of these counties, then call 979-267-7660 or 281-944-5485 to arrange a consultation.

Whatever your challenge, I’ll do my best to help find the right solution for you.