San Antonio Enforcement Attorney
Working with You to Enforce Court Orders
During family law cases, courts often issue legally binding orders to the parties involved. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for individuals engaged in a legal arrangement (like a child custody, support, or alimony order) to ignore the terms of the contract.
If you're involved in a court order, and the other party refuses to comply with those terms, you may need to file an enforcement case against that party. Our San Antonio enforcement lawyer will work with you to help you pursue order enforcement and ensure your court order is upheld.
How Does Order Enforcement Work in TX?
In Texas, there are two primary ways individuals can enforce the terms of a court order. You can file:
- A motion for contempt, or;
- A motion for enforcement.
Each type of motion serves a different purpose.
Generally, motions of contempt can be used to hold an individual accountable when they violate the terms of a family law court order in a significant way (such as refusing to pay for child support or medical expenses for a child).
If the court approves the motion, each violation the defendant (the party being held in contempt) commits counts as one charge of contempt.
Penalties for contempt can include jail time, however, courts generally prefer to hold individuals accountable in other ways. Many contempt charges stem from a failure to pay child support or alimony. As such, enforcing a fine or jail sentence against the defendant often fails to resolve the issue. Instead, the court may decide that taking actions such as:
- Ordering the defendant to repay any missed support or alimony payments;
- Placing a lien on their assets to repay missed payments;
- Putting the defendant in contact with Texas employment services;
Or other actions the court thinks could remedy the situation.
After filing a motion for contempt, both parties involved in the motion must attend a court hearing. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether the plaintiff's (the individual filing the motion) claims have merit. If the court sides with the plaintiff, they'll charge the defendant with contempt and administer penalties the court believes can remedy the situation.
However, filing a motion for contempt isn't always necessary. In some situations, the defendant may technically fulfill specific terms of the order but disregard others (such as a requirement to attend therapy with a child).
Under such circumstances, filing for a motion of enforcement may be more appropriate. Motions of enforcement carry less serious legal penalties than motions of contempt and enable the court to legally request that a defendant fulfill every term of a court order or face further consequences. If you don't want to escalate to a motion for contempt, a motion for enforcement may be what you're looking for.
At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio enforcement lawyer can take the necessary steps to help you enforce a currently existing support order.