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Holding Your Ex-Spouse Accountable: Enforcement Actions In Texas

People with ex-spouses who refuse to follow through with the terms of a divorce decree can hold them accountable through enforcement actions.
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    GALVESTON, TX, December 12, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Finalizing a divorce can be a relief. With assets fairly divided and arrangements for custody and visitation of children in place and other details agreed upon, former spouses are free to start new and separate lives. Unfortunately, a final divorce order may not be the last of a spouse's legal dealings with an ex.

A former spouse may refuse to divide a retirement account or execute a deed necessary to complete the terms of property division. A parent may deny access to a child or violate other terms of the final order. Spouses who refuse to follow through with the terms of a divorce decree can cause endless frustration and anguish, but the wronged spouse has legal rights to enforce the decree.

Enforcing All Provisions Of A Divorce Decree

After a court has issued a valid divorce decree, both parties have an obligation to follow all terms in the order. The order must be obeyed even if one spouse does not believe it is fair or disagrees with it. Spouses have the right to legally enforce all provisions of a divorce decree, including orders that relate to:

- Property division: Property division can be highly contested, particularly in high-asset divorces, and may require spouses to divide retirement accounts, real property and other marital assets. Failure to follow the terms of a property division agreement can result in financial hardship for the other spouse.

- Possession and access: Also called visitation, this area of a divorce decree is often contested. A custodial parent may refuse to provide visitation, or a noncustodial parent may refuse to return a child after visitation.

- Support: A divorce decree will contain orders for financial support of any children and in some cases spousal maintenance. A parent cannot deny an ex-spouse visitation of children because he or she is behind on spousal maintenance or child support, but there are legal remedies available.

Choosing A Remedy

People whose former spouses are refusing to comply with the terms of a divorce decree can seek a court order to enforce the divorce decree. The specific remedy will depend on the type of enforcement sought.

A motion for enforcement asks the court to enforce any provision of a final order, including support, conservatorship, possession, property division and spousal maintenance or alimony. Motions to enforce provisions of custody decrees may include requests that the wrongdoer be held in contempt of court and be punished with criminal or civil sanctions. Texas courts can enforce support orders by withholding income, placing a lien on the ex-spouse's property, license suspensions and other actions.

Contact An Attorney
If you wish to enforce a provision of a divorce decree that is being violated by your ex-spouse, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. Enforcement actions can be complex, requiring an attorney with in-depth knowledge of Texas divorce laws and court procedures to determine the most effective way to proceed with a lawsuit.

Our law firm provides experienced representation for divorce and other family law matters in Galveston and other cities in Texas. To learn more about how we can help you, visit

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