Obtaining a Court Order dividing your estate or setting out terms for conservatorship, support and visitation for your children may not be the end of the legal process. If a party does not comply with the Orders signed by the Judge, the other party may file a suit to enforce the Order.
The range of possible punishments available to compel compliance with a Court Order vary from case to case depending on the circumstances of the Order being enforce and the nature of the noncompliance. The list of possible punishments includes:
The Court can Order the non-complying party to pay a fine, based on what was violated and how long the violations have been occurring.
When the Court Order involves payment of child support or spousal maintenance, the Court may be able to garnish the violating party’s wages so that the funds they owe are deducted from their paycheck before they receive it.
Some violations of a Court Order to pay child support are grounds for temporary suspension of a state issued license of the offender, like a driver’s license, professional license or vehicle registration.
In some circumstances, the court can impose jail time to punish someone who has violated a Court Order. This remedy is not available in every case and is typically viewed as a last resort. The threat of possible jail time can be a useful tool to compel compliance with a Court Order.
A suit to enforce a Court Order can be a very complicated matter and if not done correctly, the Court may not have the ability to hold the offender responsible for their behavior. Texas law sets out many very specific requirements to be met before the Court may sign an Order for enforcement. In many cases, a person violating a Court Order escapes punishment because the correct procedures for enforcement were not followed. Anyone seeking to enforce a Court Order should consult an attorney experienced with enforcement suits before filing one.