Many Texas residents who endure the emotional roller-coaster of a divorce proceeding believe that the entry of the final order settling issues of property division, spousal support, child support and child custody will put an end to their emotional pain. Unhappily, some parents refuse to obey the court’s order regarding child custody or child support. Texas law provides several methods of enforcing an order for child support, but divorced parents are often left to their own resources to enforce compliance with an order for child visitation or shared custody.
The most common method of enforcing an order for child custody or visitation is a motion to hold the disobedient party in contempt of court. Such a motion must be brought in the county court that granted the original divorce. The moving party must cite the provision of the original order that has allegedly been violated. The provision that has allegedly been disobeyed must be specific. It must state a specific time for a visitation period to begin and a specific time for it to end.
The judge to whom the motion is presented may clarify any ambiguities in the original order before ruling on the motion. The amended order replaces the original order. If the court finds in favor of the moving party, the most common form of sanction is a citation for civil contempt. The court may place the disobedient party on probation, subject to incarceration if the violations of the court’s order do not cease. The court may also impose a fine. Most judges do not order incarceration because placing the defaulting party in jail would halt a stream of income that is essential to the welfare of the children. But, repeated violations of visitation orders will usually result in a jail sentence.
Anyone who is dealing with an ex-spouse regarding an alleged violation of an order for custody or visitation may need to get more information about their legal options