After a divorce with children or SAPCR is final, and orders are entered with the Court, the Court still retains jurisdiction over the case, in particular with regard to children. The Court can also enforce certain provisions in a property division in a divorce for a limited time.
The Court retains jurisdiction over the children until they have reached the age of eighteen or are otherwise emancipated. That means that a parent can return to court to address any concerns involving the child until that child turns 18. In an enforcement action, a parent can go to court and ask that provisions for the child in the existing order be enforced. This includes child support payments, medical support payments, and visitation disputes. The Court will hear evidence and decide if a violation of the order has occurred, and if so, then devise an appropriate remedy, depending on the circumstances. The Court can also order that a parent who has not paid court ordered support for the child, or who has denied another parent court ordered visitation be jailed for contempt of court and fined, in extreme circumstances.
While not a criminal action, a motion for enforcement carries with it the real threat of arrest and jail time. The non-complying parent is served with the motion to enforce and an order to appear in Court. Failure of the non-complying parent to appear in Court may cause the Court to issue an arrest warrant. Once arrested, the non-complying parent will be brought before the Court for a hearing. If the matter of non-compliance is child support, usually payment will be required to avoid jail. If the issue is visitation, usually compliance with the possession order will be required in order to avoid jail.
The Court may enter orders in enforcement matters that reduce any unpaid child support arrears to an interesting accruing judgment, order a payment plan on arrears, place the non-complying parent on probation with a real threat of jail time if non-compliance continues, disclosure of assets, liens against property, interception of any tax refunds owed to the non-complying parent, suspension of State licenses, and more. At DiafiLaw, you can speak with an experienced Austin child support enforcement attorney to determine the best course of action.
In an enforcement action involving denial of visitation, the Court may order that any time wrongfully denied to a parent be made up, with extra visitation equal to the amount of the time missed because of the wrongful withholding of court-ordered visitation. Repeated denial of visitation to a parent could serve as grounds for modifying custody.
It is important to know that even if a parent is not paying child support, the other parent cannot withhold visitation. Likewise, even if a parent is denying visitation to a parent, the parent being denied visitation cannot withhold child support without risking an enforcement action. Speak to an Austin enforcement attorney to determine your legal recourse.
If you are not receiving child support or being allowed your visitation, take action and call an experienced Austin enforcement attorney today!
If you have been served with an enforcement action, you have a limited amount of time to contact an experienced enforcement attorney. Failure to respond or to appear in Court may result in arrest and jail time. A parent may raise certain affirmative defenses to denial of visitation and non-payment of child support, such as danger to the child, inability to work due to injury or illness, change in circumstances such as losing a job, and actual payment in an enforcement action and avoid jail time, fines and interest. Call today and speak with an enforcement attorney to discuss your enforcement case.