Enforcement

7 posts

Divorce Gavel

Post-Divorce Proceedings And What They Can Mean

The process of a divorce is long and can be drawn out depending on whether both parties agree to terms or not.  A variety of other factors can complicate the process.  When the divorce decree is finally signed, a lot of people believe that the process is over.  This isn’t always the case. Often times divorce decrees come with terms and conditions that need to be followed such as property terms.  When one or both parties fail to comply with the decree, Texas Family Code Chapter 9 provides specific methods for dealing with such a situation. Either party can request that the Family Code be enforced.  This is done through filing a new lawsuit.  For those under a court-approved agreement, you can also file.  Chapter 9 filings do not bring with them the right to a jury trial.  Trial by a judge is the typical method of governance of such trial. The ability to file has been ruled by the courts as a result of enforcement of a prior lawsuit.  The case is not a criminal case but instead is under the Rules of Civil Procedure. In order to file for a personal property enforcement suit, one must file within […]

No fault divorce courtroom

No-Fault Divorces In Texas May Become Harder After New Bill

In Texas, a no-fault divorce is the default mechanism to request a divorce.  Officially by Texas law, a no-fault divorce is when there are conflicts between two parties that could not reasonably be overcome.  In reality, it is simply the type of divorce two people seek when they are looking to get out of a marriage, and serves as a mechanism to ending a marriage with the least amount of drama. It also provides an avenue for victims of abuse to leave a marriage without a burden of proving anything beyond that the marriage itself is unsustainable. State Representative Matt Krause is attempting to pass two bills in 2017.  The first bill increases the amount of time that two people must wait before a divorce is finalized.  This is in an attempt to get a couple to work out of their problems, instead of a divorce. The second bill that Rep. Matt Krause is putting forward will make it hard for all people to get a divorce.  This bill would make divorce only possible for criminal reasons such as abuse and adultery.  While Mr. Krause states he isn’t trying to deter people from getting divorces, he also says he hopes […]

Child Support and Debtor's Prisons

Time limitations on enforcement of child support arrears

Many people assume that the attorney general stops enforcing child support arrears when the child turns 18. Often, however, this is not the case, and can lead to some scary situations for people who are unprepared. In Texas, the law states that the court maintains their jurisdiction for up to 2 years after the obligation ends. That means that an enforcement action can be filed well after the actual child support obligation ends, and even further than that, the action itself can stretch years longer. I just argued a case recently where an enforcement action was filed barely within the 2 year deadline, but they were not able to serve the non-custodial parent for almost another 2 years. This meant that I was in front of a judge arguing for why my client should not be sent to jail for repayment of a debt to a parent with whom the child no longer lived, and did not support the child in any way. The silver lining for my client was that he was determined to be fully disabled and was on veteran’s disability and the judge refrained from enforcing a jail sentence, but it was a scary situation for my […]

Child Support and Debtor's Prisons

Child Support and Debtor’s Prisons

A friend of mine asked me the other day which type of cases I found most emotionally draining. I had to think about it for a minute, but I eventually came to the conclusion that while termination cases can be heart wrenching at times, and divorces can be full of drama, it was my experiences in IV-D (Child support) court trying to defend against enforcement actions that often were the most DIFFICULT for me emotionally. The reason for this is twofold: First, there is the lack of defense. Believe it or not, I chose to be a lawyer because I want to help people with their problems, and finding defenses for clients defending against the state in child support actions basically amounts to begging for leniency most of the time. That is not to say that it isn’t successful, but the best defenses are somewhat based around the idea that sending people to jail rarely gathers more money, so therefore its best to leave people in the free so that they can work. The actual statutory defense of “inability to pay”, which is the actual reason 99 percent of people aren’t paying, is virtually impossible to prove as an affirmative defense […]

Avoiding CPS And What To Do When You Can’t

Occasionally I will get a call from someone who either is in the early stages of a CPS investigation, or is concerned that a report may have been made, about how to avoid CPS involvement. Sometimes, this is a fairly complicated question, but there are definitely some things that can increase your likelihood of being involved with CPS. The first important thing to note is that CPS gets involved based on referrals made by third parties, and many of these referrals are effectively mandatory even if the person referring you doesn’t really think there is anything going on. Injuries to children can often trigger a referral to CPS even if the cause of the injury was something completely benign if the injury itself has signs of being indicative of abuse. Likewise, statements made by children indicating abuse will almost certainly trigger a referral by any school or daycare personnel who hears it, even if they don’t believe it is the case. For the most part, any agency involved with taking care of children likely will take (and should take) a broad view on what things should be reported and leave it up to CPS to figure things out after that. For […]

Free Speech vs. Confidentiality: Is it time to extend free speech protections to children?

I was reading an article today by Lana Shadwick. In it, she details a situation where a 13 year old boy is attempting to utilize social media to speak out about potential abuse that occurred at a foster home. His attempts to speak out are ultimately shut down by the judge in the case for unclear, but one might assume, confidentiality reasons. The full article can be read here, and it is fairly graphic in its detailing of some rather serious abuse allegations, so if that is something that would trigger you, please be aware before viewing it. My number one problem with this particular case (well maybe number 2 after some pretty horrible abuse) is that presumably the reason that there are such strict laws about confidentiality in these cases is to protect children, whereas in this situation all they seem to be accomplishing is stifling the free speech of a child without a clear argument to how it protects children. For the most part, in the CPS process, the protection of children is treated as the goal, and the children themselves largely just as objects to be protected. There is a certain necessity to this idea, but at the same […]

Child Custody FAQ for Texas Parents

Child custody disputes can come in many forms, foremost of which is in a divorce. Divorce can be a rather tricky thing, in some cases spouses will easily resolve custody issues and have long battles over property division. In other situations, spouses will easily resolve property disputes and have long battles over child custody. In either situation, a lawyer is most likely required. Some frequently asked questions are: Can a parent take custody of the child instead of making child support payments? The answer to this question is probably yes, but it often is more complicated than it seems. Both parents must provide for the child, no matter which parent has primary custody. Child support is normally paid to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child. Legal custody can be changed, but only if the parents go to court to modify the previous child support order and establish a child support amount for the new noncustodial parent.   Is a noncustodial parent entitled to visit the child if he or she is not paying child support? Yes, assuming that visitation was an additional order of the court. Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. The court determines […]