- For Attorneys
When a court order isn't followed, a petition for contempt may be filed in the court that issued the order. If it is unclear whether the property was ordered to be transferred to your name or not, a motion for clarification may be filed. A request may also be made to have the court to order the noncomplying party to pay for the losses caused by the failure to comply. The court retains continuing jurisdiction to enforce its orders by holding the noncomplying party in contempt of court. A party may also file a Judgment on Rule for Contempt, which is a prepared judgment ready for the judge to sign, to further the court's ease in making a determination. A certificate of service is filed along with the petition to prove that the petition was served on the opposing party.
The following are TX statutes:
§ 9.001 FAM. Enforcement of Decree
(a) A party affected by a decree of divorce or annulment providing for
a division of property as provided by Chapter 7 may request enforcement
of that decree by filing a suit to enforce as provided by this chapter in
the court that rendered the decree.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a suit to enforce
shall be governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the
filing of an original lawsuit.
(c) A party whose rights, duties, powers, or liabilities may be
affected by the suit to enforce is entitled to receive notice by citation
and shall be commanded to appear by filing a written answer. Thereafter,
the proceedings shall be as in civil cases generally.
§ 9.002 FAM. Continuing Authority to Enforce Decree
The court that rendered the decree of divorce or annulment retains the
power to enforce the property division as provided by Chapter 7.
§ 9.007 FAM. Limitation on Power of Court to Enforce
(a) A court may not amend, modify, alter, or change the division of
property made or approved in the decree of divorce or annulment. An order
to enforce the division is limited to an order to assist in the
implementation of or to clarify the prior order and may not alter or
change the substantive division of property.
(b) An order under this section that amends, modifies, alters, or
changes the actual, substantive division of property made or approved in
a final decree of divorce or annulment is beyond the power of the divorce
court and is unenforceable.
(c) The power of the court to render further orders to assist in the
implementation of or to clarify the property division is abated while an
appellate proceeding is pending.
§ 9.008 FAM. Clarification Order
(a) On the request of a party or on the court's own motion, the court
may render a clarifying order before a motion for contempt is made or
heard, in conjunction with a motion for contempt or on denial of a motion
(b) On a finding by the court that the original form of the division of
property is not specific enough to be enforceable by contempt, the court
may render a clarifying order setting forth specific terms to enforce
compliance with the original division of property.
(c) The court may not give retroactive effect to a clarifying order.
(d) The court shall provide a reasonable time for compliance before
enforcing a clarifying order by contempt or in another manner.
§ 9.009 FAM. Delivery of Property
To enforce the division of property made in a decree of divorce or
annulment, the court may make an order to deliver the specific existing
property awarded, without regard to whether the property is of especial
value, including an award of an existing sum of money or its equivalent.
§ 9.010 FAM. Reduction to Money Judgment
(a) If a party fails to comply with a decree of divorce or annulment
and delivery of property awarded in the decree is no longer an adequate
remedy, the court may render a money judgment for the damages caused by
that failure to comply.
(b) If a party did not receive payments of money as awarded in the
decree of divorce or annulment, the court may render judgment against a
defaulting party for the amount of unpaid payments to which the party is
(c) The remedy of a reduction to money judgment is in addition to the
other remedies provided by law.
(d) A money judgment rendered under this section may be enforced by any
means available for the enforcement of judgment for debt.
§ 9.012 FAM. Contempt
(a) The court may enforce by contempt an order requiring delivery of
specific property or an award of a right to future property.
(b) The court may not enforce by contempt an award in a decree of
divorce or annulment of a sum of money payable in a lump sum or in future
installment payments in the nature of debt, except for:
(1) a sum of money in existence at the time the decree was rendered; or
(2) a matured right to future payments as provided by Section 9.011.
(c) This subchapter does not detract from or limit the general power of
a court to enforce an order of the court by appropriate means.