When a marriage ends, the division of property as decreed by the court is a final step in the process of legally separating the lives of the former spouses. However, the decree is not always self-enforcing, and issues can arise if one party does not comply with the terms set forth. In Texas, there are specific legal remedies available to ensure compliance, including the potential sale of property and the appointment of a receiver.
Enforcement by the Court
The court that issued the divorce decree has the authority to enforce the property division contained within it. If an ex-spouse fails to follow the court’s orders, the aggrieved party can file a motion for enforcement, asking the court to take action to ensure compliance.
Timing for Enforcement
It’s important to note that Texas law sets a statute of limitations for filing a motion to enforce a property division order. This action must be taken within two years from the date the divorce decree is finalized.
Court-Ordered Sale of Property
In some cases, if an ex-spouse fails to comply with the property division order, the court has the power to order the sale of property. This is often seen as a last resort but is a powerful tool to ensure that the property division is carried out. The proceeds from the sale are then divided according to the terms of the original decree.
Appointment of a Receiver
If direct transfer of property is not feasible or if an ex-spouse is uncooperative, the court may appoint a receiver. A receiver is an independent third party tasked with taking control of the property and managing its sale or transfer in accordance with the court’s orders. This step is taken to protect the property and to facilitate the division process as ordered by the court.
When an ex-spouse willfully disobeys a court order, they can be held in contempt. Contempt of court can lead to various penalties, including fines and imprisonment, which serve as a means to enforce the court’s orders.
Costs of Enforcement Proceedings
The costs associated with enforcement proceedings, including the appointment of a receiver or the sale of property, can be ordered by the court to be paid by the non-compliant party. This includes reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, and other related expenses.
Seeking Legal Advice
Navigating the enforcement of a property division order can be complex, and the guidance of a lawyer is invaluable. A lawyer can help you understand the process, your rights, and the most effective course of action to take if your ex-spouse is not complying with the terms of the property division.
The Texas legal system provides clear avenues for enforcing the division of property after a divorce. Whether through the sale of property, the appointment of a receiver, or contempt proceedings, the court has mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with its orders. If you find yourself in a position where enforcement of a property division order is necessary, it is wise to consult with a legal professional who can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf.
For expert advice and assistance with enforcing a property division order, contact the Blacknall Firm. Our experienced attorneys understand the intricacies of Texas family law and are dedicated to helping you achieve a fair and just enforcement of your property rights. Visit us at Blacknall Firm to learn more or to schedule a consultation.