Enforcement of a Court Order

A judge banging a gavelA motion for enforcement may be filed to enforce a court’s order; this can include a divorce decree or a SAPCR order (including child support, child custody or visitation orders). The person who files for an enforcement is called the Movant.

The person who is served with, and allegedly violated the order, is the Respondent. The Respondent (the party against whom enforcement is sought) has a right to receive notice of the suit and must file a written answer.

Texas law contains some very specific restrictions on the type of relief a party can seek from a court in attempting to enforce a property division. It is advisable to speak with an attorney to see what your options are if your ex-spouse is not following the court’s order related to the property division. 

With regard to enforcing orders related to children, it is important to keep good, accurate documentation with regard to when violations took place. It is essential when filing to motion for enforcement to have very specific allegations based upon accurate documentation.

The motion must be signed by the movant or the movant’s attorney and must state the provision of the order that has allegedly been violated, how the respondent has violated the order, and the relief sought.

Child Support Orders

In a case involving enforcing a child support order, the motion must also state the amount owed as required by the order, the amount paid (if any), and the exact amount of the arrearages. Seeking contempt requires additional layers of specificity and precision in the movant’s pleadings. It is important to speak with an attorney regarding these matters. 

Moreover, a respondent has various defenses and particular affirmative defenses under the law which he or she may plead in enforcement actions. It is important to have an understanding of what the law requires and allows. The Stanley Law Office handles enforcement matters and can advise a respondent on how to proceed and protect his or her rights. 

Depending on the severity of the violation and the likely outcome, it may not be advisable to seek enforcement. However, you should not simply assume that you do not have a case. Seek the advice of an experienced attorney to gain a better understanding of what rights you actually have.

Patricia L. Cooke is board certified in Child Welfare Law

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