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The enforcement of a divorce decree

In Texas, as in other states, many couples file for divorce each year. In some cases, one of the parties will refuse to comply with one or more of the requirements set forth in the divorce decree. In the event that an ex-spouse refuses to comply with some aspect of a divorce decree such as turning over property or paying spousal maintenance or child support, the other party may file a suit to enforce. The procedure for this and other family law matters is set forth in the applicable Family Code statute.

According to Texas law, any person whose liabilities, powers, duties or rights might be affected by a suit to enforce is entitled to receive notice of the action. In addition, the individual will be required to file a written answer. The legal proceedings in connection with a suit to enforce will be governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The power to enforce the original divorce agreement is granted to the court that issued the divorce decree.

The optimum outcome in a divorce is for both parties to come to an agreement regarding property division and child visitation and support arrangements. If both parties can agree to the terms, the likelihood that one party will refuse to comply with the divorce agreement will be significantly reduced.

However, if a former spouse will not turn over property that no longer belongs to him or her in accordance with the terms of the divorce decree, then a suit to enforce that order may become necessary. A lawyer with a background in family law matters can help a client with the process of seeking enforcement for the terms of the original divorce decree.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "FAMILY CODE", October 28, 2014

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