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New Braunfels Enforcement Attorney

Child Custody and Child Support Enforcement Lawyer in Comal, Guadalupe, and Hays Counties

There are a variety of situations where people may ignore family court orders to one extent or another and for one reason or another. A parent may get behind on child support payments, and they may struggle to pay the amount owed. Due to disagreements between parents, one or both parties may refuse to follow schedules for parenting time and visitation, which can affect the other parent's relationship with their children. Because the court orders put in place are legally binding, violating these orders can result in penalties.

In circumstances similar to those described above, a motion to enforce the court's orders is nearly always a necessity, because the situation usually will not improve on its own. Enforcement is one of the most intricate procedures in the Texas Family Code. There are specific requirements as to the content of an enforcement motion as well as its time frame, and noncompliance often leads to costly delays. Additionally, these motions must accomplish a dual purpose. They must not only enforce the order, but they must also address the underlying reasons for the disobedience.

The compassionate attorneys at The Bettersworth Law Firm understand that you and your family rely on total compliance with existing court orders regarding visitation, support, and property division. That is why we take the time to answer all your questions, then we take prompt and sustained action to uphold your legal and financial interests.

Child Custody and Related Enforcement

Section 157 of the Family Code controls enforcement actions regarding visitation and support. A motion must state the exact nature of the violation and the precise nature of the relief requested. For example, a motion to enforce child support must state the date each payment was due, the amount actually paid, and the amount owed. It must also demand specific relief, which may include:

  • Contempt of court: While most judges will not incarcerate people for failure to pay child support, they will not hesitate to assess fines of up to $500 per violation. Contempt is extremely effective in regard to custody, visitation, and other non-support violations.
  • Income withholding: In many cases, the court can legally withhold up to 50 percent of an obligor's paycheck for current support and overdue support. Self-employed obligors may be required to post a bond.
  • Child support lien: This lien may attach to any real property the obligor owns, and it must be satisfied before the property can be sold or transferred.
  • License suspension: Under Section 232, a driver's license or almost any other professional license may be suspended until the past-due support is paid. Such suspension usually requires a separate hearing.

Although technically one late payment or another single incident may serve as a basis for a motion to enforce, judges are typically more prone to act if there is a pattern of misconduct. Understanding the options to enforce court orders and put modifications in place when necessary often requires the assistance of a legal professional who has experience in these types of cases.

Property Division Enforcement

If a party fails to pay spousal support or otherwise does not comply with a property division order, there are a number of remedies available under Section 9, including:

  • Clarification: If the underlying order was not specific enough to be legally enforceable, the court could correct that error.
  • Turnover order: In some cases, property owned by a person may be seized and liquidated. The obligor must surrender any non-exempt property to the court. It will then be sold, and the proceeds will be forwarded to the obligee.
  • Money judgment: The obligee can enforce this judgment by any means available for standard civil judgments.

Since divorce decrees are typically enforceable as legal documents, a breach of contract action may also be appropriate in some cases. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance as to the best methods to use to enforce a person's financial obligations.

Contact Our New Braunfels, TX Post-Divorce Enforcement Lawyer

An enforcement action punishes prior noncompliance and establishes a framework for future compliance. At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we can assist with these matters, and we can ensure that you take the correct steps to enforce divorce, child custody, or child support orders. For prompt assistance in this area, contact us at 830-606-0404.

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