Ex Not Paying Alimony or Child Support?

This video features Duana Boswell-Loechel, a Family Law attorney based in Texas.

Texas Lawyer Helps Enforce Divorce Decrees

Video Transcript:

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Many, many times, we have one side or the other, or sometimes even both, not following that court order.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Once a divorce is finalized, what happens when one ex decides not to follow the settlement agreement or court orders? We're gonna talk to Houston divorce attorney, Duana Boswell-Loechel about that, on today's episode of Ask the Lawyer. Duana has the distinction of being a board certified family law attorney in the State of Texas. Duana, thanks for joining us today.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Thanks for having me.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So first off, once spouses are divorced and/or parents enter into child custody and child support orders. Is that the end of everything? Are there ever any problems that happen after that?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

In the ideal world, that would be the end. But in reality, no, many, many times we have one side or the other, or sometimes even both, not following that court order, especially in child support payments.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So if one spouse isn't following a divorce decree, what are the common issues that you've seen? Can you walk us through some of those situations?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

So typically, we'll see a child support not being paid. We also see one parent decide to start withholding possession for visitation, we see them not refinancing homes or selling a home on time or paying the alimony or spousal support. So pretty much anything that's in a decree, we've probably seen it not being followed.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So what does somebody do if their spouse isn't following the divorce decree?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

So there's a couple of options really, and it really depends on the type of decree that we're talking about, whether or not this was an agreed divorce decree or whether we had a court-ordered decree. So when we have an agreement on these issues, except for child support and spousal maintenance, depending on the type it is, those are more of a breach of contract, and so you would actually sue in a contract action, and those typically don't have jail time or holdings of contempt. And the other choices, if we already have a judgment from the court that wasn't agreed, then you can actually ask for contempt and jail time to enforce those decrees.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And let's talk about bankruptcy, what if one person files for bankruptcy after that divorce decree is entered? Can bankruptcy court charges these types of debts, and should a person go see an attorney if their ex filed bankruptcy to avoid, say, paying child support?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes, they should definitely go and seek out an attorney, so they can really learn what their rights are and to see if they need to make a claim in that bankruptcy estate. Child support and court-ordered spousal maintenance typically are not dischargeable under a bankruptcy. Spousal maintenance, it depends on whether it was an agreed alimony payment or if it was based on a court-ordered spousal maintenance order for those payments. So they really need to go and check and see what kind of debt is trying to be discharged to see if they need to file a claim or just make the bankruptcy court aware of the order of child support or spousal maintenance.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And is that something that you see often in your practice, that people file for bankruptcy to maybe avoid paying for child support or spousal support?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

We do see it some, it's not real common. We're actually starting to see more bankruptcy filings since COVID, so it is something that I think is gonna be even more prevalent as we move forward into these divorces following COVID.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And probably another reason to make sure you get a good attorney. Thank you for joining us today.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Thank you.

Molly Hendrickson: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Duana Boswell-Loechel. If you'd like to ask Duana questions about your situation, call the number on this video. Thanks for watching. I'm Molly Hendrickson for Ask the Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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