Many people assume that when a decree or order is issued in a family law case, the matter is settled and no further intervention from the courts is necessary. It is common, however, for circumstances to arise that cause a party to seek assistance from the court to enforce or modify the terms of an existing divorce decree or custody or support order. If you and another party are subject to a family law order and you wish to enforce or modify the order, it is prudent to seek the assistance of skilled legal counsel to help you protect your interests. The dedicated Dallas family law lawyers of McClure Law Group have ample experience assisting parties in post-judgment litigation, and we will zealously advocate on your behalf to help you strive for your preferred outcome.Seeking Enforcement of a Child Custody or Support Order
Pursuant to the Texas Family Code, either parent can file a motion to enforce any provision of a temporary or final order issued in a child custody or support matter. The motion must be filed in the court that issued the order, as it has continuing and exclusive jurisdiction. Additionally, the motion must set forth the precise provision allegedly violated, the manner in which it was violated, and the relief sought. If the motion is to enforce a child support order, it must also include the amount owed pursuant to the order, the amount paid, and the amount in arrears. Motions for enforcement of an order pertaining to possession and conservatorship of a child must set forth the time, date, and place of the alleged failure to comply with the order. The court may enforce an order by finding the person violating the order in contempt of court. Additionally, the court may enforce support orders by withholding money owed from the obligor’s income.Seeking Enforcement of an Order for Spousal Support
In cases in which a divorce decree includes a division of marital property, either party can seek enforcement of the decree by filing a suit in the court that issued the decree. Suits to enforce the division of property that existed at the time of the decree must be filed within two years of the date the decree was signed or became final, whichever is later. Similarly, a suit to enforce the division of future property that was not in existence at the time the decree must be filed within two years of the date when the right to the property accrues. A seasoned family law attorney will be familiar with the legal nuances that govern situations of this nature.
With regard to spousal maintenance, a court may enforce by contempt a maintenance order or an agreement for maintenance entered into by the parties. The court cannot enforce any provision of an agreement, however, that provides for maintenance in excess of the amount of periodic support that the court could have ordered under the Texas Family Code, or for maintenance beyond the period permitted. The respondent to a motion to enforce a maintenance order or agreement can avoid being held in contempt if he or she can show by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she lacked the ability to pay the money owed.Modifying Orders in Family Law Cases
Orders dictating the terms of conservatorship and possession, child support, and spousal maintenance can be modified by the courts through post-judgment litigation as well. Generally, a party seeking to modify an order must establish that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a modification. With regard to conservatorship and possession, factors the court may consider in determining whether a modification is necessary include changes in the mental or physical health of either parent or the child, a change in the primary residence of either parent, or a change in either parent’s ability to provide the resources the child needs. In assessing whether a modification of a support or maintenance obligation is necessary, the court will typically analyze whether either party has had a significant increase or decrease in income or debt obligations.Meet with an Experienced Family Law Lawyer in Dallas
Family law disputes often continue long after matters are purportedly settled by the court. If you or your co-parent or prior spouse are subject to an order you wish to enforce or modify, it is advisable to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. At McClure Law Group, we have the knowledge and skill needed to assist you in post-judgment litigation matters, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Our main office is located in Dallas, and we are available to meet by appointment at our Collin County office in Plano. We are available to assist people in Dallas, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, and Frisco. We also represent parties in family law cases in areas throughout Dallas, Rockwall, Grayson, Denton, Collin, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us via our online form or at 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.