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Enforcement of Court Orders

When Enforcement Of Court Orders Becomes Necessary

The enforcement of court orders is not as simple as going to the courthouse and stating your case. You must address your concerns almost like a criminal investigation. While enforcement can be done, it requires significant effort, so make sure you have a lawyer who is familiar with the local legal system and can help you make sure your concerns are handled correctly.

Texas family law attorney  Kara K. Egwuatu has been protecting families throughout Sugar Land, Fort Bend and Harris Counties for more than 10 years. She understands what you are up against and what options you have to protect your rights and your family, whether you are looking to enforce support, custody or visitation orders.


The court takes matters of contempt of a court order very seriously. To pursue enforcement, the language of the existing court order must be very detailed and clear. If it is at all ambiguous, the court is unlikely to declare contempt. However, the court may allow clarification of the language so that the court order can be enforced. While the order itself cannot be changed, the language can be altered to be more clear.

Attorney Egwuatu’s first step will be to look at the language of your existing order and make sure it is possible for the court to enforce the term in question. She will then make sure to prepare your case in accordance with proper procedures and serve the opposing party properly with a notice of contempt.

Depending on the nature of the violation, there can be serious consequences for those who are found to be in contempt. Any criminal conduct could result in jail time for the accused. Even when there was no criminal action, Ms. Egwuatu will use her knowledge of local and state family laws and a wealth of trial experience to help you build an effective case.


When the court reaches a decision in your divorce, each party is required to comply with the order. If your former spouse is not living up to his or her obligations, you may be able to take action to enforce the court order. Call or email Kara K. Egwuatu today to learn more about your options.

Call (281) 606-5188 for access to experienced representation for enforcement of court orders.


Answers To Your Most Commonly Asked Questions

The right place where you cand find the answers to your questions regarding family law

Enforcement is a lawsuit that is filed to force a person to obey a Court Order.

In the context of family law the Court may enforce Orders dealing with the following matters:

  • Child Support
  • Refusal to present the child for visitation
  • The property division ordered by a Court in a divorce
  • Post-divorce spousal alimony (now called “maintenance”).

Usually Court Orders will be enforced by “contempt.” If a person is found in “contempt” of a Court order, the judge may punish the person by ordering them to pay a fine, by sending them to jail, or both.

In order for a Court Order to be enforceable by contempt, it must use “command language” and be clear, specific, and unambiguous, so that the parties will know exactly what they have ordered to do or not to do. In the case of visitation, the Court order must command the party who has the children to “surrender” them to the other party at the start of the visitation period, and order the party to return the children at the end of the visitation period. Additionally, the Order should identify the specific place where the children are to be exchanged, and state in specific detail the time when each period of visitation is to begin and end. In the case of child support, the Court order must state the specific amount to be paid, to whom the payments are to be made, the date on which the payments are to begin, where the payments are to be made, and when the payments are to end (which will be either a specific date, or the occurrence of a specific event).

If a Court Order is not clear and specific enough to be enforced by contempt, the Court can clarify the Order. The Court will then give the party an opportunity to obey the Order.

No. If the party is employed, sending the party to jail may not be the best alternative because the party will almost certainly lose his or her job. For this reason if the Judge sentences a party to jail, the Judge may suspend the jail sentence. If the Judge does so, the Judge will impose various conditions, which can include requiring the party to make specific payments (if the contempt involves failure to pay child support), ordering the party to pay attorney’s fees, costs of Court, and a fine. The Judge can also place the party on probation (now called “community supervision”) and can include a requirement that the party obtain counseling on financial planning, budget management, alcohol and drug treatment, or other matters that may have caused the person to disobey the Court Order. When a jail sentence is suspended, the Judge may order the party to appear in Court at a later date in order to determine if the party has obeyed the conditions of the suspended jail sentence. If not, the party may be sent to jail.

Yes. For example, in Divorce cases it is common for the Decree to include Orders requiring a party to pay specific debts, liabilities, or obligations. Such an Order is not enforceable by contempt because the law does not allow a party to be imprisoned for non-payment of a debt. Child support is enforceable because it is not considered to be a debt.