Get What You Are Owed
There is nothing more frustrating than spending the time and money to obtain a divorce decree or child custody order from the court only to have the other party ignore it. Whether the other party is failing to pay child support, comply with possession of and access to your child, turnover assets or pay debts, you shouldn't have to put up with such behavior. Sugar Land family law attorney Chikeersha Puvvada will strive to help you enforce your court order and seek recompense for your enforcement costs.
What is an enforcement case?
When the other party refuses to follow a Court's order, you file an enforcement case to force the other party to follow the Court's order.
How do Courts make a person follow their orders?
Courts can hold a person who fails to follow their orders in contempt. There are two types of contempt. "Criminal contempt" is a punishment for past violations of the Court's order. This punishment can be jail time, a fine, or both. For each individual violation of a Court's order, a finding of criminal contempt can result in up to 6 months of jail time, a $500.00 fine or both. "Civil contempt" is when the Court jails someone until they follow the Court's order. Courts also have the power to hold someone in contempt, order them to jail, but place them on probation so long as they follow the Court's orders. The purpose of an enforcement case is to have the other party held in contempt since the threat of jail time is a powerful motivator for most people.
What types of orders can Courts enforce by contempt?
For a Court order to be enforceable by contempt, it needs to be specific. An enforceable court order: 1) identifies who it applies to, 2) states clearly what that person must or must not do, 3) states by when that person needs to act, and 4) states where that person needs to act. Typical family law court orders that are enforceable by contempt include child support orders, geographic restrictions, visitation orders, injunctions, and transfers of assets after divorce. Under the Texas constitution, a person cannot be jailed for failing to pay a debt unless the debt is related to child support or spousal support. This means that if your ex-spouse owes you a debt as part of the division of property in your divorce, you cannot enforce payment of the debt through contempt. If your ex-spouse was ordered to pay you cash as part of the division of property in your divorce, the cash payment is only enforceable by contempt if the cash existed at the time the divorce was granted.
What is a clarification?
If a Court order is not specific enough to be enforceable by contempt, then Courts have the power to clarify the terms of that order so it becomes specific enough to be enforced by contempt in the future.
Will I get my attorney's fees and expenses back if I win my enforcement case?
Most courts will order the other party to pay your attorney's fees and expenses if you are successful in an enforcement case. However, keep in mind that only payment of attorney's fees related to child support enforcement cases can themselves be enforced by contempt.
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If you need help with enforcing a divorce decree, child custody order, or child support order, contact family law attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 281-313-5300 or online today to schedule a consultation. Due to the "Stay Home to Save Lives" order issued in Fort Bend County on March 24, 2020, our office will only be available by phone and teleconference until April 4, 2020.