Child Support & Custody
When you and your Ex had a child together, you two became stuck together for the rest of your lives whether you like it or not.
Since you two are no longer a couple, it can be difficult to get them to play by the rules when it comes to paying child support, being civil, or even letting you exercise your visitation according to the Court’s Order.
However, I sincerely hope that you don’t use this information to punish your Ex, but use it to help your Ex understand the consequences for keeping you from exercising your rights.
Your Legal Rights
Whether you and your Ex are bound by a Divorce Decree, or if you weren’t married and sought an Order to set out the visitation and child support amounts, your rights are the same under each. You have a right to rely on that Judge’s Order.
When the Judge entered the Decree/Order, he made sure not to leave any ambiguities regarding your visitation and child support. The child support amounts are described down to the penny and days due and the visitation down to the hour of the day for transfers. For the record, the Judge doesn’t like when someone disregards their orders.
When your Ex doesn’t stick to their terms, you don’t have to take it; you can take action.
Your Plan of Action
Like I said above, I hope that you will use this information to show your Ex the consequences of their actions so they will hopefully change their ways, but you and I both know that your Ex doesn’t respond to logic. Your plan of action should include a Motion for Enforcement.
Under the Texas Family Code, the Court can enforce a final order for child support and/or visitation by contempt. Each occasion where your Ex failed to comply with the Court’s order is punishable by Contempt of Court.
What is Contempt of Court?
You see it on TV all the time, but when the Court finds someone in contempt, the Judge is basically saying that the person failed to obey a Court Order. This is why you usually hear the Judge give a warning first on your standard overly dramatized TV show.
The punishment for contempt is fairly harsh though. Contempt is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. Don’t forget that each violation is it’s own contempt.
How to Protect Your Enforcement
Every single one of my Family Law clients hear a similar pitch: I strongly recommend keeping a very detailed log of you and your Ex’s interactions regarding child support and custody. Memories fade over time and you may find yourself in the above situation and desperately needing to remember what day your Ex disobeyed a Court’s Order.
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Family Law Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479