enforcing a divorce decree or settlement

When a divorce is resolved by order of the court in a divorce decree or by agreement of the parties in a marital settlement agreement or mediated settlement agreement (MSA), the former spouses (parties) are required to comply with their obligations under the divorce decree or MSA.

When a party fails to meet their obligations under the divorce decree or MSA, the other party may (1) file a motion for enforcement or request for orders (RFO) with the court that had jurisdiction over the parties’ divorce proceeding; (2) request an order for the non-compliant party to comply; and (3) request the court to order the non-compliant party to pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by the party seeking enforcement of the divorce decree or MSA.

And if a party repeatedly fails to comply with the court’s orders, the other party may seek to have the non-compliant party held in contempt of court—a special procedure for forcing compliance or punishing non-compliance—in which the court may award both civil penalties (fines, assessment of attorney fees and costs) and criminal penalties (confinement in jail as punishment for failing to comply with the court’s orders).

State Statutes for the State of Texas

Federal Statutes