Enforcement of Judgments

We could write a book on the subject of enforcement of judgments in family cases which our firm handles. For this brief blog let’s talk about the most common judgments in family law: child support, post-divorce maintenance or alimony and turnover orders. We will reserve for another time how to enforce orders that deal with access and possession.

Child support is so important in family law that there are even special courts in the courthouse that handle child support. These are called Title IV-D courts. But each family judge has his or her own enforcement powers. Texas law allows for garnishment of wages to pay for child support. The employer is required by law to draw from an employee that amount of child support each month that is ordered by the court.

The court can even treat health insurance premiums for children as additional child support. The party responsible for payment of health insurance either provides for the health insurance through his or her employer, through a private policy, through reimbursing the other party who has provided for the health insurance, through reimbursement to the State of Texas for Medicaid coverage or, in very rare cases, with a monthly cash payment for health care.

The Texas Family Code was amended recently to provide for dental insurance as additional child support.

The court can also require that parties reimburse each other for uncovered medical costs such as deductibles or co-pays. Usually each party is responsible for 50% of uncovered medical costs.

The family judge can enforce payments for statutory post-divorce maintenance with wage withholding orders. Withholding orders are reserved for maintenance that is ordered in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code. Maintenance payments that are merely agreed to without reference to Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code would not include the benefit of a wage withholding order.

Finally, whenever a party is ordered to turnover property in his or her possession and fails to turnover the property.

In all of these matters the court has severe enforcement powers and can hold a non-compliant party in contempt of court. Enforcement can even include confinement for non-compliance with these orders.

 Please email us directly or call us directly at: (915) 593-6600 or (915) 256-0579 with any questions you may have about child support, child support enforcement, contempt charges, or wage withholding concerns.