Enforcement of Child Custody Orders
A parent or conservator may enforce his or her right to possession of or access to the child through Texas enforcement proceedings. Enforcement is generally referred to as "contempt" or "contempt of court." If the parent or conservator who was court-ordered to make the child available for visitation or access fails to do so at the date, time, or place specified in the court's orders, then the parent or conservator who was denied possession or access of the child may file a Motion to Enforce with the court. If the other parent or conservator is found in contempt, then he or she can be fined, jailed, or both and ordered to pay the attorney’s fees of the party who successfully prosecuted the Motion to Enforce.
The requirements for drafting a Motion to Enforce are very specific. If the motion does not include the information required by statute, then the motion may be denied and the court may issue sanctions against the party who filed the deficient motion. For these reasons, it is recommended that a parent or conservator who wants to enforce rights of possession or access retain the assistance of a licensed attorney.
In addition to enforcing their rights through contempt proceedings, a parent or conservator who has been denied access or possession of the child may seek and obtain other remedies in addition to contempt. Depending on the circumstances, a party who deprives a parent or conservator access to or possession of a child may face criminal sanctions, a judgment for civil damages he or she caused, or both in addition to any contempt sanctions that might be ordered by the court.