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Enforcing a Property Settlement

Posted on in Complex Property Litigation

TX divorce lawyerWhether an agreement is reached in an out-of-court setting through negotiation, or as the result of litigation and a court order, the terms of any finalized divorce decree must be followed. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to refuse to comply with certain terms, especially in regards to property division. In these situations, courts can step in and enforce a property settlement following divorce, so if your former spouse is refusing to comply with a court order by failing to turn over certain assets, it is critical to retain an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you seek a request for relief from the court.

Enforcing a Temporary Property Division Order

During many divorces, the parties are required to address temporary property-related issues while the divorce is pending, such as: who will retain the family home, who will be responsible for paying certain bills and expenses, and who will cover debts, such as loans, credit cards, and lease payments. To address these matters, a court may issue a temporary order that has some or all of the following effects:

  • Restrains one spouse from damaging or selling certain property;
  • Requires an inventory and appraisal of all community and separate property;
  • Prohibits the parties from wasting marital assets; and
  • Assigns responsibility for certain household expenses and childcare costs.

These temporary orders play a critical role in helping spouses resolve certain issues during divorce, but also provide the grounds for an enforcement action if one spouse fails to comply with the terms. Temporary orders are as legally binding as final orders, so when one party fails to abide by their terms, the court can intervene by transferring liability, ordering eviction, foreclosure, or wage garnishment, or holding the non-compliant party in contempt.

Enforcing a Final Property Division Order

Final property division orders stipulate how assets and debts will be divided. For this reason, there are a number of actions that parties can take that would constitute a violation, although the most common include:

  • Failing to deliver certain property or assets to a former spouse;
  • Failing to pay off debts as ordered; and
  • Failing to sell assets and divide the proceeds as directed.

When a party commits this type of violation, his or her former spouse can take legal action to force compliance. This could involve asking a judge to enforce an agreement’s terms, which is often followed by a judge’s issuance of an order clarifying the terms of the property settlement. If this order is also violated, the other party can file a motion for the delivery of property, which, if granted, allows the court to step in and order that certain assets be turned over as stated in the earlier decree. A court can also award a monetary judgment for any damages caused by non-compliance and can even sentence the at-fault party to jail.

How Our Legal Team Can Protect Your Rights and Interests

To have your property division-related questions and concerns addressed by a dedicated Georgetown high asset divorce attorney, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC. We are prepared to begin working with you on your case immediately.




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