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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Post-divorce modifications and enforcement of property division

Property division is one divorce legal issue that must be resolved for a couple to be able to move on with their lives after their marriage is terminated. Sometimes, one of the parties may not comply with the final decree of divorce as it pertains to marital property. Fortunately, Texas provides for enforcement procedures, but there are limitations on how long a party can wait before seeking assistance from the courts.

The court in Collin County that signed the decree of divorce retains jurisdiction to enforce that decree as to its provisions affecting the division of property. A party seeking enforcement may file a lawsuit against a former spouse, but the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the divorce decree. If the divorce was appealed to a higher court, the two years are calculated from the date the decree became final after the appeal process was completed. No suit may be filed after the two-year deadline.

Courts do not have the authority to perform post-divorce modifications on those portions of a divorce decree dealing with property division once the decree of divorce is final. Judges hearing a post-decree lawsuit pertaining to marital assets divided between the parties in the divorce may only enforce the decree or clarify it, but they cannot amend, modify or change it.

A party who refuses to turn over property as ordered in a divorce decree may be held in contempt of court. A judge may also award a money judgment in favor of the party seeking enforcement of the decree.

Another remedy that the court may use in addition to a money judgment or contempt is to award the former spouse seeking enforcement a righto collect what is owed out of the other party’s right to future property. For example, a spouse awarded rights in the divorce to future payments from a pension could have those payments diverted to pay the damages suffered by a party seeking enforcement of a decree.

Divorce and post-decree relief present complex legal issues when it comes to enforcement of property division provisions. A McKinney family law attorney might be of assistance.

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