Divorce agreement being signed by both parties

How to Enforce a Divorce Settlement Agreement in Texas

Whether you have been divorced for just a few weeks, a couple of months, or several years, you may arrive at the point where things aren’t going as smoothly as you had hoped.

If your ex-spouse is not following the terms of your divorce settlement agreement, their actions could cause all sorts of problems. Now it’s time to think through what you can do to make your ex-spouse comply with the terms of the divorce order.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’re not alone. I help many clients overcome similar challenges after their divorce. The good news is that you have legal options to compel your ex to follow the post-marital agreement. Here’s what you need to know about post-divorce issues and how to enforce a divorce settlement agreement in Texas.

Post-Divorce Issues Arising From Non-Compliance

Many post-divorce issues arise when one spouse fails to comply with the terms of the divorce settlement agreement. Let’s look at common challenges that might apply to your situation.

– Your ex-spouse is misusing the assets that were divided during the settlement. This violation can include using money from a joint bank account to make purchases without your consent or various types of property disputes, such as selling property that was awarded to you in the settlement. Your ex may have even tried to hide assets from you to keep some of their most valuable assets out of the divorce settlement, only for you to discover them later on.

– Your ex-spouse is failing to make child support payments under the terms set forth in the divorce. If a conversation with your former spouse has not changed their behavior, then you may have to take legal action to receive the payments you are owed.

– Your ex-spouse is failing to follow the visitation schedule outlined in the divorce decree. This action may be due to a genuine conflict, such as a work schedule change. But in other cases, this violation could be a repeated offense, such as a spiteful attempt to deny you time with your children, intentionally showing up late to pick up the children to interfere with your schedule, or having other malicious intent.

If you have evidence proving that your ex is intentionally violating the terms of the divorce order, then you could compel a court to enforce the order.

– Your ex-spouse is disparaging you to your children. If the divorce settlement agreement included a non-disparagement clause, then any unwarranted attacks against you could also be a form of non-compliance.

Your ex may be speaking badly about you to try to turn the children against you or to gain favor with them. This type of behavior can have a negative impact on your relationship with your children, but you can do something about it by enforcing the order.

– These are just a few examples of how your ex-spouse may fail to comply with the terms of your divorce settlement agreement. When this happens, it can cause significant stress and conflict. You may feel like you have no control over the situation, but there are legal ramifications for not complying with a divorce settlement agreement.

In Texas, a divorce settlement agreement is a legally binding contract that is upheld by court order. If your ex-spouse breaches the agreement, they may be held in contempt of court. However, you must take legal action to enforce the agreement.

How to Enforce the Terms of Your Divorce Settlement Agreement

If you believe that your ex-spouse has breached the terms of your divorce settlement agreement, you can file a petition for enforcement with the court. The court will then hold a hearing to determine whether or not your ex-spouse has breached the divorce agreement.

If the court finds that your ex-spouse indeed breached the agreement, they may order your ex-spouse to comply with the terms of the agreement. The court may also order your ex-spouse to pay attorney’s fees, court costs, and any other expenses you may have incurred due to the enforcement action.

A petition for contempt may also be filed if your ex-spouse has failed to comply with a court order. For example, contempt of court may be a factor if your ex-spouse fails to pay child support on time or in the required amount. A finding of contempt can result in a number of different consequences for your ex-spouse, including fines, jail time, or both.

To successfully convince the court that your ex-spouse is in contempt, you will need to show that your former spouse was aware of the court order and that they had the ability to comply with it but willfully chose not to.

Keep in mind that enforcing an original order is a serious legal matter, so you will need to gather substantial evidence to support your claim. Evidence should include the following:

  • Bank statements.
  • Text messages or other forms of communication.
  • Proof of missed child support payments.
  • Testimony from your children / third parties capturing what your ex said about you.

This evidence will be presented to the court at a hearing, and the court will decide whether or not to find your ex-spouse in contempt.

Get Help Enforcing Your Divorce Settlement Agreement

Enforcing a divorce settlement agreement can be a complex process. If you are having trouble getting your ex-spouse to comply with the terms of your agreement, it is vital to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney in Texas.

A qualified attorney such as myself can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the enforcement process. I will also represent you in court and serve as a strong legal advocate on your behalf. With the right divorce lawyer on your side, you can improve your chances of finding the relief you need and enforcing the terms of your agreement.

Don’t try to navigate the enforcement process on your own. Get the legal advice and advocacy you need to protect your rights and interests. When you turn to my law practice, I will review the original divorce agreement and pursue enforcement of the original order to compel your ex-spouse to finally uphold their obligations.

I currently help clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County. If you live in one of these counties, call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to schedule a consultation about enforcing a divorce settlement agreement. I look forward to helping you resolve your post-divorce issues.