Whenever a couple completes a divorce in Texas, the court will clearly define each divorced spouse’s obligations and restrictions when it comes to child custody, child support payments, spousal maintenance (alimony), child possession (visitation), property division, and access to the marital home. When one spouse fails to meet his or her obligations or violates the terms of the court’s orders, the other spouse may wonder about his or her options for legal recourse.
Enforcement of court orders is a serious topic, and divorcing couples should know what to expect on both sides of this issue. Any newly divorced person must understand how he or she is obligated to follow the court’s orders and have a firm understanding of the other spouse’s obligations as well.
If a divorced spouse fails to uphold his or her end of a divorce agreement, the court will deem the spouse who violated the agreement as in contempt of court. Starting contempt proceedings is a complex process, and the judge presiding over such proceedings will review the facts of the case and assign appropriate punishment. A few examples of violating a court order in family law include:
Court orders use clear command language to ensure the divorcing couple knows their obligations and restrictions with as little room for interpretation as possible. Court orders contain very concise, unambiguous language, so any violations of the orders will be very apparent. If one spouse claims a court order is too vague or doesn’t account for specific factors unique to the couple’s situation, the court may review an order to further clarify it.
Depending on the severity of the violation, a person found in contempt of a court order may face many possible punishments. If the person simply misinterpreted the court order, the court can review the order for clarity to prevent future confusion. For a first-time violation, the court may slightly alter the divorce agreement or provide a temporary provision to prevent future violations. For calculated, intentional violations of a court order, the violator may be subject to fines, loss of custody, even jail time.
It’s essential to understand the serious problems that come with violating a court order. Austin enforcement of court orders attorney Abraham Kant, of SSJM Family Law, is here to help. If you are preparing for divorce or your ex-spouse has violated your divorce agreement, reach out to our attorneys to schedule a case evaluation. Mr. Kant will personally review the details of the situation and carefully explain your options and likely outcomes in a courtroom.