I would like to say thank you for the job you did for me with the divorce. I thought you did a great job and that you were extremely professional. - C.H.
Texas Enforcement and Modification Lawyers
Pursuing the Modification and Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders
If you are seeking the enforcement or modification of an existing court order in Texas, you can rely on O'Neil & Attorneys in Dallas to represent your interests. We have extensive experience at the trial and appellate level and are relentless in pursuing the rights of our clients while showing them the compassion they need during a difficult situation.
To discuss your modification or enforcement needs with an experienced family law attorney, please call our firm at 972-499-4558 or toll free 866-959-4330.
Modification of Court Orders
Typically involving child support or parenting time issues, court orders involving property division, spousal maintenance and debt payments can also be modified. To modify an order, the person seeking modification must show there has been a "material and substantial change of circumstances" which could include:
- A marriage to another person
- Change in residence, age, medical condition employment or criminal history
- The relationship between parents becoming unworkable
Enforcement of Court Orders
The most usual remedy for enforcement is contempt of court. If held in contempt, a person found in violation of the order faces punishment by confinement in jail for up to six months per violation and a fine of up to $500 for each violation. A person could be held in contempt of court for any violation of a court order, including:
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to comply with orders for possession of and access to a child
- Failure to comply with orders regarding the exercise of rights and duties regarding a child
A motion for enforcement may also include an order for specific performance, contempt or clarification of the previous order. For instance, a child support order could be enforced by withholding earnings, a money judgment, liens against assets, collection against tax refunds, restrictions on retaining government funds or even being charged with a criminal offense.
A court that renders an order or decree retains the power to enforce the order or decree. However, with orders in suits affecting the parent-child relationship, the suit must be filed in the court that entered the prior order. Tex. Fam. Code §157.001(d). A motion requesting enforcement is the vehicle in which to allege the possible remedies. An order on the motion for enforcement may include an order for specific performance (i.e., makeup visitation), money judgment (i.e., child support or other monetary payments), contempt (a fine or jail time), or clarification of the previous order. Each party is entitled to notice by citation of a request for enforcement and must be commanded to appear by filing a written answer, although personal service may be waived in writing.
Contempt of Court
Contempt of court can include both disrespectful behavior in the judge's presence or the willful disobedience of a judge's command or of an official court order – basically any act that interferes with a judge's ability to administer justice or that insults the dignity of the court. A person held in contempt of court can face financial sanctions and, in some situations, jail time. A person should be aware of the very serious consequences for disobeying a court order.
We represent parties seeking enforcement as well as parties fighting against enforcement orders. This provides us with a more well-rounded perspective as we understand the various rights and obligations of both parties in these cases.
Contact a Lawyer
To learn more about your rights in enforcement and modification cases or to find out how we can help you obtain a successful outcome, contact us today.