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Enforcing Divorce and Custody Orders

In this post, I will try to help you understand a bit more about judicial orders pertaining to Custody and Property Division. These are orders issued by the court after a hearing that you and your ex-spouse must comply with.

Orders are normally issued after a hearing but temporary orders may be issued during the pendency of a trial.

Here are examples of some judicial orders you may encounter:


Habeas Corpus is a petition that would be most appropriate in situations where your ex-spouse keeps your child longer than what your Divorce Decree allows.

In case you are wondering, it’s Latin and literally means “produce the body” in English.

In the event your ex-spouse violated a Visitation Order (a court order that outlines your visitation arrangements, usually included in your Divorce Decree), you can ask for a Contempt Order from the court against your ex-spouse for said violation. This might take a while because there will be a hearing to prove that your ex-spouse, indeed, violated the terms agreed upon and the order issued by the court. Alternatively, you can petition the court for Habeas Corpus. It’s faster to obtain than a Contempt Order. A judge may decide in a quick ruling that will order your ex-spouse or anyone who currently possesses your child to immediately turn over your child to you.


If you believe that your child is taken out of Texas, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) ensures that all judicial orders concerning child custody are recognized and enforced in any state of the country. You can ask for a warrant and all legal means available will be used by courts of any state in the US to return your child to you. Of course, you will have to present compelling evidence that shows that your child was indeed removed from the state of Texas.


A Property Division Order, on the other hand, are ordered as a result of a divorce. Being a judicial order, you and your spouse are compelled to follow whatever is outline in this Property Division Order.


If there are disagreements regarding the terms of the order/s that the spouses are bound to due to some ambiguities, a Clarification Order may be petitioned to ask the court to set forth more specific terms that would allow proper enforcement. Maybe the order is vague or not specific enough to make it enforceable. A new order will be issued by the court.


Money Judgment may be issued when there is failure to deliver property to either spouse. Future property may be awarded to you or your ex-spouse.


Divorce is really tough. It means that your relationship with your spouse has soured beyond repair. It can be very emotional. However, while it is so emotionally charged, you have to understand and know your rights so that you are not at a disadvantage because along with the dissolution of your marriage are issues concerning the separation of your property, management of your debts, and the custody and support of your children among many others.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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