Not every party involved in a family law dispute will follow the terms, conditions, provisions, and restrictions outlined in a court order. Unfortunately, many individuals will attempt to go around the terms – or outright violate the terms.
If you find yourself in a situation where the other party has a pattern of violating the terms or has shown complete disregard for what was ordered by a judge, then you will want to pursue what’s known as an Enforcement of the Order.
Enforcing a court order could apply to several different areas of family law. As a family law attorney, I regularly work with the enforcement of court orders. Consider the types of family law situations where I can help you file a motion to enforce in Texas:
- Child Custody (including Visitation Rights)
- Child Support
- Protective Orders
How to File a Motion to Enforce in Texas
To start the legal process of enforcing a previous court order, you will first need to file a motion for enforcement that expresses the reasons why you are petitioning the court to enforce the order. You will file this in the county that issued the original court order.
When you complete the form, you will be asked to provide specific information about the original court order, your reasons why you believe there has been a violation of the order, and pertinent details supporting your case.
For example, let’s look at Visitation Rights. In the child custody orders of a divorce or other suit affecting the child-parent relationship, the court would have outlined the hours for the non-custodial parent to possess the child. If there is a pattern of the custodial parent infringing on these hours or blatantly disregarding the hours, then you can request that the court enforce the order.
In the motion for enforcement, you will provide specific details about the alleged violations. The information you will be asked to provide includes the following:
- The visitation schedule that was outlined in the original court order
- Evidence supporting your claim that there has been a denial of visitation
- Specific dates and times when your rights were denied
- Any witnesses or other pertinent details for each instance of a violation
- The action that you are requesting the court to take against the other party
- Other specific details that are pertinent to your situation
When you have completed the information, you will need to file a motion to enforce a visitation order with the district clerk’s office. A court date will then be set for a judge to hear the motion to enforce.
Potential Outcomes of the Motion to Enforce in Texas
The Texas Family Code outlines the potential outcomes of a motion to enforce. For example, in cases that affect the parent-child relationship, the court has the option to enforce the provisions of the original order through contempt. This would hold the other party responsible for following the order or risk penalties and fines.
To arrive at this decision, the court will evaluate the contents of the motion for enforcement. A judge will review your motion to evaluate whether you have made a clear argument to enforce the order. This is why it’s very important to provide as much information as possible in the following areas:
- Identify the provisions of the order that the other party allegedly violated.
- Identify the provisions of the order that you are seeking to be enforced.
- Explain the manner of the other party’s non-compliance.
- State the relief requested by you as the offended party.
The judge will then decide whether to enforce the order, whether to hold the other party in contempt, or whether the other party should provide restitution for previous violations.
For example, in the enforcement of a child support order, the judge may request that the offending party pay arrearages (e.g., the amount of money that should have been previously paid during the period of violation), in accordance with a plan approved by the court.
Work With a Family Law Attorney for a Motion to Enforce in Texas
If you believe that the other party has violated the terms of an original court order, you will want to work with an expert in family law to help enforce the order.
I can help you file a motion to enforce the terms of an order affecting the parent-child relationship, a protective order against an abuser, or a divorce such as your ex-spouse violating the non-disparagement clause.
After your motion is filed, I’ll serve as a fierce advocate working on your behalf to ensure that your rights are protected and that the other side plays by the rules.
If you live in the Texas counties of Brazoria County or Fort Bend County, then I can help you file the motion to enforce. I’ll ensure that every detail is accounted for to help present the best possible argument to the court. Get in touch with me today to get started on the process of enforcing an original order.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation. I am here to help!