Divorce can be a hard and stressful process for everyone involved, but it can be made even harder when one spouse fails to comply with the terms of the court-ordered property settlement.
If this is your situation, know that you're not alone, and there are steps you can take to enforce the property settlement and protect your legal rights. In this post, we’ll discuss how to enforce a property settlement in Texas and what legal options you have as an ex-spouse whose property has been withheld.
Review & Understand Your Property Settlement
Identifying your rights and your ex-spouse's obligations is a crucial step in enforcing the property settlement. So, you should review the terms of your property settlement agreement to see if there is anything unclear or ambiguous about it.
In Texas, property settlements can take several forms, including a stipulated agreement or a court-ordered judgment. Regardless of the type of settlement you have, you will need to review it carefully to identify whether your ex-spouse is in breach of their obligations.
Demand the Property Withheld in Writing
If you believe that your ex-spouse is withholding property that’s rightfully yours, the next step is to send a certified letter demanding it be immediately returned. This letter should include all relevant information, including a detailed listing of the items being withheld, date and time of divorce that shows the court order's enforceability, and a clear expectation that the property be turned over without delay.
In many cases, this letter can resolve the issue once and for all, either by making your ex-spouse realize the seriousness of their breach or persuading them to comply with the court's order voluntarily.
Consult with a Family Law Attorney
If the letter doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to seek legal help and consult with an experienced family law attorney. The attorney will be able to notify your ex-spouse formally that they are in breach of the property settlement and demand that the property be returned immediately.
If negotiations fail, your attorney can take further legal action, including filing a motion to enforce the court order, which asks the court to order your ex-spouse to comply with the terms of the settlement. A hearing will be held, and the court can issue an order that compels the non-compliant ex-spouse to turn over the disputed property.
In some cases, the court may also order the non-compliant spouse to pay damages to the other party for the delay in returning the property. The court can also find the non-compliant spouse to be in contempt, which can result in court-imposed fines or even jail time if they persist in their refusal to comply with the court order. Seeking legal help can be a valuable step in enforcing your property settlement, especially if you hit a dead-end with your initial attempts to resolve the issue amicably.
We Can Help You Enforce a Property Settlement
If you're experiencing difficulties enforcing a property settlement after divorce, it's important not to hesitate. The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it may become to resolve the matter.
Remember, enforcing a property settlement is a legal right that you have, and by taking the proper steps, you can protect your legal rights and secure the property that is rightfully yours. Kay Poly, Attorney at Law is here to help when you need us.
Contact us today to request a consultation with our experienced attorney.