Noteworthy 2006 Family Law Cases from Houston
For more information on Texas Family Case Law click the following links:  
2007-2008 family law cases from Houston Courts of Appeals and from  the Texas Supreme Court
2006 Texas Supreme Court Decisions in Family Law | 2008-09 Houston Appellate Family Law Decisions
Also: Domestic relations decisions from Texas courts of appeals: Splitsville Appeals Blog

2006 Appellate Cases With Links to Opinions

Gainous v. Gainous, 219 S.W.3d 97, 103 (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. filed)(ruling on post-
divorce motion for clarification reviewed under abuse of discretion standard)
Gainous v. Gainous (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)(Taft)
(opinion on rehearing)[family law, divorce, benefits, COLA, collateral attack]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TRIAL COURT
FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Taft
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-00427-CV Brenda Joyce Gainous v. Thomas Earl Gainous
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County Concurring Opinion by Justice Keyes
Concurring Opinion by Justice Hanks
I join the judgment only, and I write separately and respectfully to express my disagreement with the Texas
Supreme Court's opinion in Reiss v. Reiss, 118 S.W.3d 439 (Tex. 2003), and to urge the supreme court to
revisit that authority.

Court Comments on Ineffective Counsel Problem in Parental Rights Termination,
But Says It Is Bound by Legislature

Pool v. CPS (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 14, 2006)(Jennings)
[family law,
termination of parental rights, ineffective counsel, constitutionality questionable]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Jennings
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-05-01093-CV        Jonathon E. Pool v. Department of Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 313th District Court of Harris County
("In making our holding above, we join the Fort Worth Court of Appeals and Justice Vance of the Waco
Court of appeals "in questioning the practical applications and constitutional validity of this statute," but we
also agree that we simply "are barred by the legislature" from considering Pool's issues.")

Jackson v. Jackson (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 30, 2006)(Radack)(divorce, property division,
sanctions case law) AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Chief Justice Radack
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Alcala and Bland
01-05-00194-CV Theodore Jackson v. Louvenia Jackson
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County (Hon. Robert J. Kern)

Court Addessses Nonparent Standing Issue in SAPCR Proceeding and Reverses Trial Court

Whitworth v. Whitworth (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 22, 2006)(Keyes)
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Justice Keyes
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks)
01-04-01026-CV Tammy Renee Whitworth v. Douglas Wayne Whitworth and Carol Whitworth
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County
("Appellant, Tammy Renee Whitworth, challenges the trial court’s final decree of divorce that named
intervenor, Carol Whitworth, sole managing conservator of Tammy’s minor child, K.C. In two issues on
appeal, Tammy argues that the trial court erred (1) in failing to name her as joint managing conservator
and (2) in giving her less than a standard possession order. We reverse and remand the cause.")
("We hold that Carol failed to establish standing to seek managing conservatorship of K.C. and that the trial
court abused its discretion in awarding her temporary managing conservatorship of K.C. and bootstrapping
its award of permanent managing conservatorship on its improper award of temporary managing
conservatorship to a non-parent pursuant to a suit for custody over which it lacked subject matter
jurisdiction.")
see --> Blog on Texas Grandparents and Nonparents Rights  

Court Examines Standing Issue in Same-Sex Relationship Context

Hobbs v. Van Stavern (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 2, 2006)(Higley)
[family law, SAPCR, same sex relationship, adoption, standing as parent]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Justice Higley
(Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley)
01-05-00632-CV Julie Ann Hobbs v. Janet Kathleen Van Stavern
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County

International Dimension of SAPCR Creates Jurisdictional Quagmire

Update: See Subsequent Texas Supreme Court Decision Alfonso v. Skadden (Tex. 2008)
Skadden v. Traquis Alvonso  (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 31, 2006)(Frost)
[family law, jurisdiction, in personam, in rem, special appearance, defect in service, service by publication,
Hague convention, restricted appeal,
bill of review, enforcement action]
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Justice Frost
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore)
14-05-00488-CV        Michael Skadden v. Ana Maria Tarquis Alfonso
14-05-00489-CV        Michael Skadden aka Michael James Skadden, Relator v. Ana Maria Tarquis Alfonso
Appeal from
246th District Court of Harris County

Temporary Injunction Appeal Not Permitted in Divorce Context Based Under Family Code

Marley v. Marley (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct 27, 2006)(Higley)
[family law, divorce, temporary orders unappealable, controlled by Family Code, not by statute authorizing
interlocutory appeals in civil cases]
DISMISS APPEAL: Justice Higley
Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Higley
01-05-00992-CV        Frank E. Marley, Jr. v. Connie A. Stirgus Marley
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County (Hon. Brenda Mullinix)                                 
The proceeding in this case is a suit for divorce. Section 6.502 of the Family Code provides the trial court
with jurisdiction to enter temporary orders. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.502. The temporary orders are
interlocutory. Beard v. Beard, 49 S.W.3d 40, 69 (Tex. App.—Waco 2001, pet. denied). Section 6.507
precludes appeal of those orders. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.507.

Habeas Relief Not Available When Petitioner Is Not Restrained

In re Aurelio Sotelo Flores (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 3, 2006)(per curiam)
[family law, child support, habeas relief denied, relator not restrained, DWOJ]
DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS: Per Curiam
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-06-00733-CV In re Aurelio Sotelo Flores
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Annette Galik)
("We dismiss relator’s petition for want of jurisdiction because the issue about which relator complains is not
ripe for consideration in this habeas proceeding. Footnote  See In re Easton, No. 14-06-00674-CV, slip op.
at 3, 2006 Tex. App. LEXIS 7095 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 10, 2006, orig. proceeding) (held
court of appeals has no jurisdiction to entertain application for writ of habeas corpus when trial court had
issued writ of attachment for relator’s arrest because he had failed to appear for contempt hearing, but was
not confined and, to the court’s knowledge, was still evading writ of attachment)")

Termination of Parental Rights Reversed As To Father Admitting Paternity - CPS
Required to Show Abuse or Neglect

Tolivar v. DFPS (CPS) (Tex.App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Oct 26, 2006)(Jennings)
[family law, admission of paternity need not be formal, sufficient to prevent termination without showing of
statutory grounds]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT IN PART, REVERSE TC JUDGMENT IN PART, AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Justice Jennings
(Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley)
01-06-00292-CV        Zenobia Tolivar, Muntravian Martin, and Marcus Holloway v. Department of Family
and Protective Services
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County
(“We hold that Martin, by appearing at trial before his rights were terminated and admitting that he was in
fact Z.M.’s father, triggered his right to require DFPS to prove that he engaged in one of the types of
conduct listed in section 161.001(1) before his parental rights could be terminated. Accordingly, we further
hold that the trial court erred in finding that Martin did not timely file an admission of paternity and in
terminating his parental rights to Z.M.”)

Jackson v. Jackson (Tex.App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 2, 2006)(Alcala)
[family law, divorce,
mediated settlement agreement, MSA, duress claim, motion for new trial, newly
discovered evidence]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Justice Alcala
(Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Alcala and Bland)
01-04-01215-CV Deborah Joyce Jackson v. Phil Jackson, Jr.
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County

Ruiz v. Dept of Fam. & Reg. Serv's (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 2, 2006)(Jennings)
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND RENDER JUDGMENT: Justice Jennings
(Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Higley)
01-05-00556-CV Monica Ruiz v. Department of Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County

Child Support Amount Above Guidelines as Discovery Sanction Reversed and Lowered

Glash v. Glash (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 10, 2006)(Seymore)
[family law, child support,
sanctions reversed, child support reduced to guideline amount]
AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED: Opinion by Justice Seymore
(Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore)
14-05-00846-CV Randall Gene Glash v. Arlene Sue Glash
Appeal from 309th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Frank Barlow Rynd)

Three-Women Appellate Panel Orders Family Court Judge to Vacate Order Holding
Husband in Contempt for Nonpayment of Alimony

In Re Lozano (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Sep. 14, 2006)(Keyes) (contempt, spousal support)
GRANT PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS: Opinion by Justice Keyes
Before Justices Keyes, Alcala and Bland                                
01-06-00655-CV In re Robert E. Lozano, Jr.
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. James Douglas Squier)
(“We hold that the trial court abused its discretion in holding Robert in contempt for failure to pay spousal
maintenance and for failure to pay installments on the house note. Accordingly, we conditionally grant
Robert’s petition for writ of mandamus and direct the trial court to vacate its April 27, 2006 order of
contempt.
Our writ will issue only if the trial court fails to comply with this order.”)

Equitable Property Rights Claim Based on Same-Sex Marriage-like Relationship Rejected
on Public Policy Grounds

Ross v. Goldstein (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.] Sep. 14, 2006)(Fowler)
[family law, probate, novel same sex marriage-like relationship doctrine rejected, romantic relationship, joint
venture, constructive trust remedy, BoFD claim, special exceptions sustained, stand on pleadings,
sufficiency of pleadings, dismissal of some claims reversed because not challenged by special exceptions
or other procedural device, trial court erred by granting more relief than requested, no authority to strike
claims sua sponte]
AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED & REMANDED IN PART: Opinion by Justice Fowler
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00405-CV William Ross v. Scott Farrell Goldstein, as Independent Administrator of Estate of John
David Green, Deceased
Appeal from Probate Court No 1 of Harris County (name of judge omitted)

Court examines standing for custody issue in sex-sex relationship context

Hobbs v. Van Stayern (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 2, 2006)(Higley)
[family law, SAPCR, same sex relationship, adoption,
standing as parent]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Justice Higley
(Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley)
01-05-00632-CV Julie Ann Hobbs v. Janet Kathleen Van Stavern
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County

Termination of Parental Rights Reversed As To Father Admitting Paternity

Tolivar v. DFPS (CPS) (Tex.App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Oct 26, 2006)(Jennings)
[Admission of paternity need not be formal, sufficient to prevent termination without showing of statutory
grounds]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT IN PART, REVERSE TC JUDGMENT IN PART, AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Justice Jennings
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-06-00292-CV        Zenobia Tolivar, Muntravian Martin, and Marcus Holloway v. Department of Family
and Protective Services
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County
(“We hold that Martin, by appearing at trial before his rights were terminated and admitting that he was in
fact Z.M.’s father, triggered his right to require DFPS to prove that he engaged in one of the types of
conduct listed in section 161.001(1) before his parental rights could be terminated. Accordingly, we further
hold that the trial court erred in finding that Martin did not timely file an admission of paternity and in
terminating his parental rights to Z.M.”)

Default Judgement Reversed

Garcia v. Vera (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 5, 2006)(Higley)
[
default judgment, family law, paternity suit, motion for new trial, extension of filing deadline]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by
Justice Higley
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-05-01161-CV Lucas Martinez Garcia v. Leticia Maria Vera
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Annette Galik now know as Annette Kuntz)
We conclude that Garcia met the requirements of Craddock. When these requirements have been met, the
trial court abuses its discretion if it denies a defaulting defendant a new trial.

Sanctions Motion fell outside Court's plenary jurisdiction

Philip v. Philip (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct 5, 2006)(Hanks)(plenary jurisdiction, sanctions)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
(Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks)
01-05-00627-CV Paul Randolph Philip, Jr. v. Ereka Washington Philip
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Jim York )

Property Division Affirmed

McKamie v. McKamie (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 5, 2006)(Nuchia)(divorce property division)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Nuchia
(Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley)
01-05-00941-CV Reginald Edmund McKamie, Sr. v. Geneva Winfield McKamie
Appeal from 308th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Georgia Dempster)

Chief Justice Adele Hedges Writes Opinion in Divorce Attorney Fee Appeal

Bowen v. Kuntz (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Sep. 12, 2006)(Hedges)        
[family law, divorce
attorneys fees dispute, agreement incident to divorce, payment procedure]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00769-CV Berry D. Bowen v. Hal G. Kuntz
Appeal from 311th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Douglas C. Warne)

Late Notice of Appeal in Convoluted Case Defeats Jurisdiction and Dooms Appeal

Gantt v. Gantt (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 31, 2006)(Edelman)(subst. opinion)
[family law, divorce, appellate procedure, bankruptcy stay, untimely notice of appeal, DWOJ, law of the case]
DISMISSED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Edelman and Seymore)
14-03-00969-CV Jerry Gantt and Lisa Foster Gantt v. Carol B. Gantt
Appeal from 309th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Frank Barlow Rynd)
(“We overrule appellee’s motion for rehearing, withdraw our opinion issued in this case on April 13, 2006,
and issue this substitute opinion in its place.  In this divorce case, the parties appeal and cross-appeal a
2003 divorce decree and final judgment (the “2003 judgment”) on numerous grounds. We dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction.“)

Suit for Child Support Past 18 based on Mental Disability Found Barred for Lack of
Standing - Legal Representative May Instead Sue to Vindicate Disabled Child's Rights

Rasback v. Phillips (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 24, 2006)(Fowler)
[family law,
child support past 18, disabled adult child, standing to sue, capacity, no standing, no
jurisdiction, no denial of access to courts because representative may sue to vindicate adult child’s rights]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Fowler
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00576-CV Roger Duane Rasbach, Jr. v. Jane Phillips, as Surviving Parent and Bank of America, N.
A., as Trustee for the Winne Arnett Phillips Trust, the Herbert Houghton Phillips Trust, and/or any other
trust and/ or substrusts having Jane Phillips as Beneficiary and/or other Financial Interest
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Linda Motheral, former family district court judge)

Termination of Parental Rights in Spanking Case Reversed - Dissent on Unknown Father

In Re JAJ (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 10, 2006)(Hudson)(op. on rehr’g)
[does corporal punishment constitute physical abuse supporting
termination of parental rights?]
AFFIRMED IN PART/REVERSED AND RENDERED: Opinion by Justice Hudson
Before Justices Brock Yates, Hudson and Mirabal
14-04-01031-CV In the Interest of J.A.J
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John Phillips)
Concurring/Dissenting Opinion by Justice Mirabal (opinion on rehearing)
[would reverse and remand; parental rights of unknown father, served by substitute service, should not
have been terminated]

Involuntary termination of parental rights is a serious matter implicating fundamental constitutional rights.  
Holick v. Smith, 685 S.W.2d 18, 20 (Tex. 1985).  In order to terminate parental rights, the State bears the
burden to prove both: (1) the parent engaged in one of the grounds for termination listed in section 161.001
(1) of the Texas Family Code; and (2) termination is in the child’s best interest.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §161.
001;  In re J.L., 163 S.W.3d 79, 84 (Tex. 2005).  

Due to the severity and permanency of the termination of parental rights, the burden of proof at trial is
heightened to the clear and convincing evidence standard.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001 (Vernon
2002); In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 265-66 (Tex. 2002).  This standard requires more proof than the
preponderance of the evidence standard in civil cases, but less than the reasonable doubt standard in
criminal cases.  In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 265-66.  “Clear and convincing evidence” means the measure or
degree of proof that will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of
the allegations sought to be established.” Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 101.007 (Vernon 2002).

Aug 3, 2006 - Error in Award of Disability Benefits in Divorce Uncorrectable

Baker v. Baker  (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 3, 2006)(Hanks)(on motion for rehearing)
[
divorce, division or property, retirement benefits, VA disability pay, motion for enforcement and clarification,
motion to modify]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-05-00178-CV Michael Allen Baker v. Karen Ruth Baker
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (Hon. Russell Lloyd)
Asking the court to consider Baker’s VA disability pay through a motion for enforcement and clarification
and not a motion to modify the divorce decree would have required the trial court to alter or change the
substantive division of property and, thus, was a request beyond the power of the trial court. See Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 9.007(b). Such relief can only be considered upon the timely filing of a motion to modify the
divorce decree. See, e.g., Bloomer v. Bloomer, 927 S.W.2d 118, 119 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1996,
writ denied) (providing proper method to challenge characterization of military retirement benefits in final
divorce decree).

In a divorce, a trial court shall divide the parties’ marital estate in a manner that the court determines is just
and right, having regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§ 7.001 (Vernon 2003). However, once the marital estate is divided, a court may not amend, modify, alter,
or change the division of property made or approved in the decree of divorce or annulment. Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 9.007 (b) (Vernon 2003). 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. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 9.007 (a) (Vernon 2003). An order that amends, modifies, alters, or
changes the division of property made or approved in a final decree of divorce is beyond the trial court’s
power and is unenforceable. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 9.007 (b).

If the trial court finds that the original form of the division of property is not specific enough to be
enforceable by contempt, it may render a clarifying order setting forth specific terms to enforce compliance
with the original division of property awarded by the divorce decree. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 9.008
(Vernon 2003). Clarifying orders may more precisely specify the manner of carrying out the property
division previously ordered so long as the substantive division of the property is not altered. McPherren v.
McPherren, 967 S.W.2d 485, 490 (Tex. App.—El Paso 1998, no pet.).

Opinion Concurring with this Court's Judgment: Opinion by Justice Keyes
(“Donovan’s 50% interest in Baker’s military retirement benefits became a vested right in the final divorce
decree that issued in 1987. Even though the trial court improperly awarded Donovan benefits that, by
statute, were Baker’s separate property, Baker did not timely complain. Under Berry and its progeny, the
division of property in the divorce decree is res judicata, and the property may not now be reapportioned.
See Berry, 786 S.W.2d at 673; Trahan, 894 S.W.2d at 119; Jones v. Jones, 900 S.W.2d 786, 787–88 (Tex.
App.—San Antonio 1995, writ denied) (holding that res judicata barred former husband’s collateral attack
on final unappealed divorce decree entitling former wife to portion of military retirement pay when husband
argued that disability benefits he accepted in lieu of retirement benefits were not subject to division). I,
therefore, concur with the majority that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed.”)

Award of assets to one spouse and liabilities to other affirmed

Combe-Obadia v. Combe Ovadia (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.] August 3, 2006)(Hudson)
[
appeal of property division, award of more liabilities than assets, waste of community assets as a factor,
under-reporting of income, economic contribution disputed]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Hudson
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-04-01028-CV Patrick J. Combe-Ovadia v. Amarit Gonzalez Combe-Ovadia
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (
Judge G. Annette Galik)(family court)

First Court of Appeals Justices divided over sanctions for mother's attempt to thwart
kids' trip abroad with ex parte restraining order

Keith v. Keith (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] July 20, 2006)(majority opinion by Tim Taft)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Tim Taft
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-01214-CV Sharon Kay Keith v. Randall Dean Keith
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Hon. James Squier)
Keith v. Keith (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] July 20, 2006)(Keyes, dissenting)
OPINION DISSENTING TO THIS COURT'S JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Evelyn Keyes
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-01214-CV Sharon Kay Keith v. Randall Dean Keith
Appeal from 312th Family District Court of Harris County  (
Judge James D. Squier)

Supreme Court Finds No Economic Duress in Alimony Agreement

Sudan v. Sudan No. 04-0921 (Tex. June 30, 2006)(per curiam)
[divorce agreement, alimony, spousal support, no economic duress]
PHILIP P. SUDAN, JR. v. MARGARET DYE SUDAN, NOW KNOWN AS MAGGIE MACKENZIE; from Harris
County; 14th district (14 01 00854 CV, 145 SW3d 280, 06 17 04) 2 petitions
Pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 59.1, after granting the petitions for review and without
hearing oral argument, the Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and renders judgment.
("In this suit to enforce a settlement agreement incorporated in a divorce decree, we consider whether there
is any evidence that the ex-wife was coerced into relinquishing her rights to future alimony payments. The
court of appeals reversed a summary judgment in favor of the ex-husband, concluding there was some
evidence that the ex-wife was under economic duress when she gave up her rights. 145 S.W.3d 280, 288.
We disagree that there is evidence of economic duress here and accordingly render judgment for the ex-
husband.")

Commitment Order for Failure to Pay Alimony Held Void

In Re Joseph Peter Eguia (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] July 6, 2006)(per curiam)
[judgment of contempt for failure to pay temporary spousal support was entered, habeas corpus relief
granted,
commitment order void, lacking essential elements]
MOTION OR WRIT GRANTED: Per Curiam. Before Justices Anderson, Edelman and Frost)
14-06-00516-CV In Re Joseph Peter Eguia
Appeal from 309th District Court of Harris County [name of judge not shown]
("A judgment of contempt for failure to pay temporary spousal support was entered against relator on June
8, 2006, by the 309th District Court of Harris County.  Relator was incarcerated pursuant to a commitment
order contained within the judgment. Relator contends the commitment order is void because it does not list
the dates and amounts of the payments he allegedly failed to make and lists an ambiguous release date.  
We agree.  Family Code Section 157.166 requires that the dates and amounts of failed payments and the
date of release be contained within a commitment order.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §157.166 (Vernon 2005).  
This required information is not listed in the commitment order in this case.  Therefore, the commitment
order is void.  See Ex parte Garcia, 795 S.W.2d 740, 741 (Tex. 1990).  Accordingly, we grant relator’s
petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Family Judge Send Mother to Jail for Nonpayment of Child Support - Court of Appeals
Keeps Her There

In Re D’Juana Parr (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] July 6, 2006)(orig. proc.)(Higley)
DENY PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS: Opinion by Justice Laura Higley
Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Higley
01-05-01162-CV IN RE D'JUANA PARR
Appeal from
247th District Court of Harris County - Hon. Bonnie Hellums
(“We remand D’Juana to the custody of the Sheriff of Harris County to serve the balance of her
punitive contempt confinement ordered by the trial court.”)

Differences in Injunctions in Civil and Family Courts Noted-Temporary May Be Permanent

In re B.G. and A.G. (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] June 15, 2006)(Seymore)
[
SAPCR, motion to modify, modification, injunction: civil  litigation v. family code, temporary v. permanent]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Seymore
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-04-00944-CV In the Interest of B.G. and A.G.
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Jim York)

Marital Property Division in No-Fault Scenario: Mathematical 50:50 Split not Required

Hawkins v. Hawkins (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] June 20, 2006)(Seymore)
[
property division in no-fault divorce; split need not be exactly 50:50 in light of other factors, incl. disparity in
earnings capacity]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Seymore
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00117-CV Richard E. Hawkins v. Amy Hawkins
Appeal from 328th District Court of Fort Bend County (Judge Ronald R. Pope)

Mother Has No Standing on Custody Issue After Her Parental Rights Were Terminated
All-female Panel of Fourteenth Court of Appeals Says

In re H.M.M  (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 6, 2006)(Hedges)
[
nonparent standing, biological parent whose rights were terminated has no standing to assert interest in
subsequent custody determination]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00559-CV In the Interest of H.M.M, a Child
Appeal from 278th District Court of Walker County
(“Appellant Lashawn Mays, the biological mother of H.M.M., appeals the trial court’s failure to grant sole
custody to her father after it terminated her parental rights and ordered that H.M.M. remain in the custody
of Child Protective Services. Because appellant has no standing to challenge the trial court’s order, we
affirm.”)

Texas Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Order Setting Aside a False Prior Paternity
Adjudication in a Divorce Decree Because Bill-of-Review Summary Judgment Did Not
Adjudicate Biological Paternity and Was Thus Not a Final Appealable Judgment

Kiefer v. Touris (Tex. May 26, 2006)(per curiam)
[
Bill of review, set aside prior determination of paternity, nonpaternity; wife had child with another man while
married, subsequent divorce decree adjudicated child as child of the marriage, trial court granted biological
father’s bill of review by summary judgment, set aside the parentage adjudication in the divorce decree, but
did not enter a new adjudication of child’s parentage] (“In this case we consider whether a judgment in a bill
of review proceeding that sets aside a parentage adjudication, but does not make a new parentage
adjudication, is an appealable judgment. We conclude that it is not. “)(Mother had affair resulting in birth of
child while married, then divorced; bio dad filed suit to establish his paternity)

Texas Supreme Court Rules on Child Support Consequences of Informal Custody Switch

In re A.M and B.M. (Tex. May 5, 2006)(Opinion by Justice Medina) [custody switch and child support off-set
and reimbursement claims, either-or or both, actual support, presumption or what proof required?]
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to the trial court.

From the opinion: In this case, we must decide under what circumstances a parent, who has been ordered
to pay periodic child support, may raise the affirmative defense of Texas Family Code section 157.008 to a
suit to collect that support. The statute provides that an obligor parent, who by agreement has possessed a
child for periods exceeding court-ordered possession, and who has provided actual support for the child
during such period, “may request reimbursement for that support as a counterclaim or offset against the
claim of the obligee [parent].” Tex. Fam. Code § 157.008(d). The court of appeals concluded that this
statute provided the obligor both an offset and an affirmative right to reimbursement for periodic child
support payments during a period of excess possession, that the obligor did not have to provide an
accounting of expenses to receive this relief, and that the Attorney General, as assignee of the obligee
parent’s right to enforce the child support order, could litigate offsets, but could not defend against an
affirmative claim for reimbursement from the obligee. 101 S.W.3d 480. Because we disagree that section
157.008 permits the obligor to obtain both an offset and affirmative reimbursement for the same periodic
payment, and further disagree that the Attorney General lacks standing to litigate any part of the defense
provided by this statute, we reverse.

Justice Johnson delivered a concurring and dissenting opinion: I agree with the court of appeals’ conclusion
that the absence of evidence that Chism or anyone other than Mullen provided support for the children
during the time that Mullen had possession of them would allow an inference that Mullen provided some
level of actual support for that period of time. ...  I do not agree, as the majority concludes, that the
inference of some support allows a second inference, labeled as a presumption, that Mullen provided actual
support in the specific amount of his monthly child support obligation. Mullen was statutorily obligated to
prove the amount of support he provided in order to receive an offset or reimbursement.  In my view, Mullen
is entitled to offset only the amount of actual support he proved and the trial court found, subject to proper
appellate review and limited as provided by statute.”)

Houston Court of Appeals Panel Voids Contempt Order

In re: Stenson (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] May 11, 2006)(Anderson)
[
Child support enforcement, habeas corpus relief granted, ambiguous order of contempt is void, court did
not address whether attorneys fees enforceable by contempt, release ordered]
MOTION OR WRIT GRANTED: Opinion by Justice Anderson
Before Justices Anderson, Edelman and Frost
14-06-00094-CV In Re: Dwayne Thomas Stenson
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Judy L. Warne)
("Because we conclude that the contempt order is void, we grant relator’s habeas corpus petition, order
relator released from the bond set by this Court on February 8, 2006, and order relator discharged from
custody.")  

Kids' Preference to be Considered in Custody Determination

In Re Talis Lee Rand Delany  (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] May 4, 2006)(per curiam)
[Child’s selection of managing conservator, minor's affidavit of selection was intended by the Legislature to
be received and considered as evidence]
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Per Curiam Opinion
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore)
14-06-00188-CV In Re Talis Lee Rande Delaney  
Appeal from
257th District Court of Harris County

Medically Assisted Reproduction and Divorce: Who Gets Control of the Embryos?

Houston appeals court panel reverses trial court's award of frozen embryos to wife to
give effect to prior written agreement between former spouses; avoids constitutional
reproductive rights issues.

Roman v. Roman (Tex.App.-- Houston [1st Dist.] 2006 Opinion by Justice Evelyn Keyes)  
(Before Justices
Taft, Keyes and Hanks)
REVERSE TRIAL COURT JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TRIAL COURT FOR FURTHER
PROCEEDINGS:
01-04-00541-CV
Randy M. Roman v. Augusta N. Roman
Appeal from the 310th District Court of Harris County (Family District Court Judge Lisa Millard).

From
Justice Evelyn Keyes' opinion: "We hold that the embryo agreement provides that the frozen embryos are to be
discarded in the event of divorce. By awarding the frozen embryos to Augusta, the trial court improperly rewrote the parties’
agreement instead of enforcing what the parties had voluntarily decided in the event of divorce. Accordingly, the trial court
abused its discretion in not enforcing the embryo agreement. ... We reverse the judgment and remand the cause to the trial
court to enter an order consistent with this opinion and with the parties’ agreement that the frozen embryos be discarded. All
pending motions are denied."

Termination of Parental Rights - No interlocutory appellate jurisdiction if order not final

In re M.A.H.  (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] May 4, 2006)(per curiam)
DISMISSED: Per Curiam Opinion
[
Termination of parental rights, no final judgment of termination, no interlocutory appellate jurisdiction, ILA]
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman)
14-06-00190-CV In the Interest of M.A.H., a Child
Appeal from
310th District Court of Harris County

Termination of Parental Rights Cases

Cervantes-Peterson v. Department of Family and Protective Services (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 3,
2006)(Jennings)(en banc)
[
termination of parental rights, drug baby]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Jennings
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Taft, Nuchia, Jennings, Keyes, Alcala, Hanks, Higley and Bland
01-05-00307-CV Kovey Amanette Cervantes-Peterson a/k/a Kovey Peterson Cervantes a/k/a Kovey Turner
Cervantes v. Department of Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John Phillips)

Ruiz v. Dept. of Family and Protective Serv’s [CPS]  (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 3, 2006)(Jennings)
[
termination of parental rights reversed, child neglect]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND RENDER JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Jennings
Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Higley
01-05-00556-CV Monica Ruiz v. Department of Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John Phillips)


Appeals Court Denies Relief re: Andrea Yates' Retrial For Murdering Her Kids

March 17, 2006  In Re Andrea Yates (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2006)(per curiam)
DENY PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION: Per Curiam Opinion
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Taft and Nuchia
01-06-00221-CR        In Re Andrea Pia Yates
Appeal from 230th District Court of Harris County

March 16, 2006  Ex Parte Andrea Yates (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2006)(Nuchia)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT [trial court's denial of habeas corpus relief]: Opinion by Justice Nuchia
[alleged prosecutorial misconduct based on false testimony by expert at trial; appellant failed to show DA
had reason to question veracity of Dr. Dietz's testimony; no affirmative duty to independently investigate
witness testimony before using it when State had no reason to doubt its veracity; no prosecutorial
misconduct shown]
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Taft and Nuchia
01-06-00222-CR   EX PARTE ANDREA PIA YATES
Appeal from 230th District Court of Harris County
Prior murder conviction reversed in
Yates v. State, 171 S.W.3d 215, 220 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.]
2005, pet, ref'd)


Grandparent  Visitation: Texas Supreme Court Denies Access

In re Karen Mays-Hooper No. 04-1030 (Tex. 2006)
[
grandparent access to children, mandamus proceeding]
("We conditionally grant mandamus relief and direct the trial court to vacate its order of September 21,
2004 granting grandparent possession.“)
See U.S. Supreme Court's Decision in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)
Also see OP. TEX. ATT'Y GEN, No. GA-0260 ("a Court must require a grandparent to "overcome the
presumption that a fit parent acts in the best interest of his or her child"")

In re Wood (Tex.App--Houston 2006)
[Grandparent access to children, discovery motion, scope of discovery, irrelevant questions]
GRANT PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS: Opinion by Justice Tim Taft
Before Justices Taft, Higley and Bland
01-06-00014-CV   In Re: Elizabeth Wood
Appeal from 12th District Court of Grimes County


Parentage: Man adjudicated to be father by default judgment while in jail  
not entitled to challenge paternity issue by Bill of Review

Nelson v. Chaney (Tex.App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 24, 2006)(Keyes)
[
Bill of review to set aside paternity default judgment, summary judgment affirmed)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Keyes
(Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks)
01-04-01058-CV Donald Nelson v. Evangeline Chaney
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Jim Squier)
Petitioner’s attorney: Ronald G. Ray
Respondent’s attorneys: Kathryn Marie Diaz, Rhonda Pressley, John B. Worley


Retroactive Child Support Properly Denied in Light of Statutory Factors and Facts in Case

Forde v. Martinez (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] April 13, 2006)(Edelman)
[denial of
retroactive child support affirmed, Family Code guideline factors to be considered by trial court in
determining how much should be ordered, if any; trial court made findings]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Richard Edelman
Before Judge Murphy, Justices Edelman and Guzman
(Senior Chief Justice Paul C. Murphy sitting by assignment)
14-04-00714-CV Jessica Forde v. Edwin Geovani Martinez
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County, Judge K. Randall Hufstetler

Spousal Support (Alimony) Disabled Former Spouse Limited to 12 Months

Stewart v. Stewart (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] April 20, 2006)(Radack)
[spousal maintenance limitation to 12 months affirmed despite disability]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Chief Justice Radack
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Jennings and Alcala
01-04-01126-CV Lynne Stewart v. Darrell Lynn Stewart
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County

Mandamus Relief Against Contempt Based on Violation of Temporary Support Order
Denied

In re John W. Small (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] June 1, 2006)(per curiam)
[
contempt order, temporary support, mandamus denied]
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Per Curiam
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-06-00383-CV In Re: John W. Small
Appeal from County Court at Law No 1 of Galveston County
On May 1, 2006, relator John W. Small filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this Court, requesting we
direct the Honorable Mary Nell Crappito, presiding judge of County Court No. 1, Galveston County, to deny
any motion for enforcement of temporary support filed by real party Murriah McMaster, to reverse a
contempt and commitment order holding relator in contempt for failure to pay temporary support to
McMaster, and to modify the temporary support order.   See Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. '22.221 (Vernon 2004);
see  also  Tex. R. App. P. 52.1.  
Because relator has failed to establish he is entitled to the requested mandamus relief, we deny relator’s

petition for writ of mandamus.

Other Alimony Cases

Owens v. Owens (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] July 6, 2006)(Frost)
[alimony, separation agreement, divorce judgment, summary judgment]
OVERRULED: Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-04-00728-CV Gerald T. Owens v. Sally Farrier Owens
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (
James D. Squier )(summary judgment)

Family Law Appeals Cases (Tex.App.- Houston 2006)
in reverse chronological order of opinion release
date

Morrill v. Cisek (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)(Bland)
[family law, defamation per se claim against former spouse,
permanent injunction to prohibit contact with employer]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Bland
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Alcala and Bland
01-06-00268-CV Ann C. Morrill v. Lawrence J. Cisek, Jr.
Appeal from 400th District Court of Ft. Bend County

Rappa v. CPS (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)(Nuchia)
[family law, termination of parental rights]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND RENDER JUDGMENT: Opinion by
Justice Nuchia
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-06-00253-CV Rick Walker and Jessica Rappa v. Department of
Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 344th District Court of Chambers County
Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Justice Jennings

Gainous v. Gainous (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)
(Taft)(opinion on rehearing)
Gainous v. Gainous, 219 S.W.3d 97, 103 (Tex.App.- Houston [1st
Dist.] 2006, pet. filed)
[family law, divorce, benefits, COLA, collateral attack]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Taft
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-00427-CV Brenda Joyce Gainous v. Thomas Earl Gainous
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County Concurring
Opinion by Justice Keyes
Concurring Opinion by Justice Hanks
I join the judgment only, and I write separately and respectfully to
express my disagreement with the Texas Supreme Court's opinion
in Reiss v. Reiss, 118 S.W.3d 439 (Tex. 2003), and to urge the
supreme court to revisit that authority.

Colbert v. CPS (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)(Nuchia)
[termination of parental rights, several children]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Nuchia
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-04-01232-CV Ericka Shannette Colbert v. Department of Family
and Protective Services
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County
Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Justice Jennings

In re C.N. (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 21, 2006)(Alcala)
[juvenile law, sexual abuse by siblings, exclusion of evidence, outcry
testimony]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Alcala
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Alcala and Bland
01-05-00309-CV In the Matter of C.N., a Minor Child
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County

Pool v. DFPS [CPS] (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 14, 2006)
(Jennings)
[family law, termination of parental rights, ineffective counsel,
constitutional infirmity noted in dicta]                                
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Jennings
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-05-01093-CV        Jonathon E. Pool v. Department of Family and
Protective Services
Appeal from 313th District Court of Harris County
In making our holding above, we join the Fort Worth Court of
Appeals and Justice Vance of the Waco Court of appeals "in
questioning the practical applications and constitutional validity of
this statute," but we also agree that we simply "are barred by the
legislature" from considering Pool's issues.
    
In Re DFPS (CPS) (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 14, 2006)
(Keyes)
DENY PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS: Opinion by Justice
Keyes
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-06-00052-CV        In re Department of Family and Protective
Services
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County

CPS TDFPS v. Alternatives in Motion (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.]
Dec. 14, 2006, pet. denied 3/30/07)(Keyes)
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS:
Opinion by Justice Keyes
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-06-00092-CV        Department of Family and Protective Services
v. Alternatives in Motion
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County

Gertner v. Gertner (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 14, 2006)(per
curiam)
DISMISSED: Per Curiam
Before Justices Brock Yates, Anderson and Hudson)
14-06-00482-CV        Michelle Gertner v. Edward Gertner
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (Judge G. Annette
Galik)

Karlen v. Karlen (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 5, 2006)
(Hedges)
[family law, guardianship of mother denied, not necessary]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Seymore
14-06-00250-CV        Robert Karlen v. Joye P. Karlen
Appeal from Probate Court No 4 of Harris County

In Re Frickey (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Nov. 30, 2006)(per
curiam)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Per Curiam
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Seymore
14-06-00984-CV IN RE: ROBERT FRICKEY
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Judge James D.
Squier)

Whitworth v. Whitworth (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 22, 2006)
(Keyes)
[family law, standing of a nonparent for child custody, access]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Justice Keyes
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks)
01-04-01026-CV        Tammy Renee Whitworth v. Douglas Wayne
Whitworth and Carol Whitworth
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Hon. Linda
Motheral)

Evans v. Evans (Tex.App.- Houston [1st. Dist.] Nov. 16, 2006)
(Jennings)(SAPCR, child support clarification)
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Justice Jennings
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Jennings and Alcala
01-05-00604-CV Nancy Lee Evans v. Thomas Ray Evans, Jr.
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County (Hon. K. Randal
Hufstetler)

Mosley v. Mosley (Tex.App.- Houston [1st. Dist.] Nov. 16, 2006)
(Hanks)
[family law, enforcement of property division, inherent power to
sanction]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Justice Hanks
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-00425-CV Eugene Mosley v. Pamely Mosley (Davis) and
Allette B. Williams
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County (Hon. Hon.
Robert J. Kern)

Jackson v. Jackson (Tex.App. - Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 2, 2006)
(Alcala)[
family law, divorce, mediated settlement agreement, duress
claim, MNT, newly discovered evidence]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Justice Alcala
(Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Alcala and Bland)
01-04-01215-CV Deborah Joyce Jackson v. Phil Jackson, Jr.
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County

Bowen v. Kuntz (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Sep. 12, 2006)
(Hedges)        
[family law, divorce attorneys fees dispute, agreement incident to
divorce, payment procedure]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00769-CV Berry D. Bowen v. Hal G. Kuntz
Appeal from 311th District Court of Harris County (Judge Douglas C.
Warne)

Gantt v. Gantt (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 31, 2006)
(Edelman)(subst. opinion)(DWOJ)
[family law, appellate law, divorce, appellate procedure, bankruptcy
stay, plenary jurisdiction, void order, untimely notice of appeal,
DWOJ, law of the case]
DISMISSED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Edelman and Seymore)
14-03-00969-CV Jerry Gantt and Lisa Foster Gantt v. Carol B. Gantt
Appeal from 309th District Court of Harris County (Judge Frank
Barlow Rynd)
(“We overrule appellee’s motion for rehearing, withdraw our opinion
issued in this case on April 13, 2006, and issue this substitute
opinion in its place.  In this divorce case, the parties appeal and
cross-appeal a 2003 divorce decree and final judgment (the “2003
judgment”) on numerous grounds. We dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction.“)
In Re Grover (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 29,
2006)(Anderson)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Justices Fowler, Edelman and Frost
14-06-00726-CV In Re: Bernard Grover
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (
Judge
Bonnie Crane Hellums)
In Re JAJ (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 10, 2006)(Justice
Harvey Hudson)(op. on rehr’g)
[does corporal punishment constitute physical abuse supporting
termination?]
AFFIRMED IN PART/REVERSED AND RENDERED: Opinion by
Justice Hudson
Before Justices Brock Yates, Hudson and Mirabal
14-04-01031-CV In the Interest of J.A.J
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John
Phillips)
Concurring/Dissenting Opinion by Justice Mirabal (opinion on
rehearing)
[would reverse and remand; parental rights of unknown father,
served by substitute service, should not have been terminated]

In Re J.B.H. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 8, 2006)(Yates)
[family law, judicial immunity, lack of jurisdiction]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Brock Yates
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00745-CV In the Interest of J.B.H., a Minor Child
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County

Ruiz v. Dept. of Family and Protective Serv’s  (Tex.App.– Houston [1st
Dist.] Aug. 3, 2006)(Jennings)
[termination of parental rights reversed, neglect]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND RENDER JUDGMENT: Opinion by
Justice Jennings
Before Justices Jennings, Hanks and Higley
01-05-00556-CV Monica Ruiz v. Department of Family and Protective
Services
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John
Phillips)

Baker v. Baker  (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 3, 2006)(Hanks)
(on motion for rehearing)
[divorce, division or property, retirement benefits, VA disability pay,
motion for enforcement and clarification, motion to modify]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-05-00178-CV Michael Allen Baker v. Karen Ruth Baker
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (Hon. Russell
Lloyd)

Combe-Obadia v. Combe Ovadia (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.]
August 3, 2006)(Hudson)
[
appeal of divorce property division, award of more liabilities than
assets, waste of community assets as a factor, under-reporting of
income, economic contribution disputed]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Hudson
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-04-01028-CV Patrick J. Combe-Ovadia v. Amarit Gonzalez
Combe-Ovadia
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (Judge G. Annette
Galik)(family court)

Keith v. Keith (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] July 20, 2006)(majority
opinion by Taft)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Tim Taft
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-01214-CV Sharon Kay Keith v. Randall Dean Keith
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Hon. James
Squier)
Keith v. Keith (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] July 20, 2006)(Keyes,
dissenting)
OPINION DISSENTING TO THIS COURT'S JUDGMENT: Opinion by
Justice Evelyn Keyes
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-01214-CV Sharon Kay Keith v. Randall Dean Keith
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County  (Judge James D.
Squier)

In Re JRF (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] July 13, 2006)(Seymore)
[juvenile proceeding, delinquency adjudication, theft, CD player, a
headset, and thirty CDs stolen at school from fellow student;
sufficiency of the evidence to support adjudication]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Charles Seymore
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-04-00818-CV In the Matter of J.R.F
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Judge John
Phillips)

Hawkins v. Hawkins (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] June 20, 2006)
(Seymore)
[property division in no-fault divorce;
property split need not be
exactly 50:50 in light of other factors, incl. disparity in earnings
capacity]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Seymore
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00117-CV Richard E. Hawkins v. Amy Hawkins
Appeal from 328th District Court of Fort Bend County (Judge Ronald
R. Pope)

In re S.W.O. (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 8, 2006)
[Appeal dismissed based on hearsay statement by nonparty family
member to the effect that appellant does not wish to pursue appeal;
requirement to comply with rule governing voluntary dismissal
suspended]
DISMISSED: Opinion by Justice Anderson  -
Dissenting Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Justices Anderson, Edelman and Frost
14-03-00059-CV In the Matter of S. W. O.
Appeal from 315th District Court of Harris County

In re D.D.A. (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 8, 2006)
[
retroactive child support affirmed, no record brought forward, tape-
recording of proceedings before master; master’s ruling not
appealed to presiding judge, no court reporter]
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00046-CV In the Interest of D.D.A
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County

In re S.W.O. (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 8, 2006)(Anderson)
[Appeal dismissed based on hearsay statement by nonparty family
member to the effect that appellant does not wish to pursue appeal;
requirement to comply with rule governing voluntary dismissal
suspended]
DISMISSED: Opinion by Justice Anderson  -
Dissenting Opinion by Justice Frost
Before Justices Anderson, Edelman and Frost
14-03-00059-CV In the Matter of S. W. O.
Appeal from 315th District Court of Harris County

Witte v. Witte (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 8, 2006)
DISMISSED: Opinion by Justice Seymore - Justice Fowler dissents
without opinion
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00768-CV Gerard Alan Witte v. Cynthia Grace Witte
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (James D. Squier
sitting for the 245th DC)

In re H.M.M  (Tex.App–Houston [14th Dist.] June 6, 2006)(Hedges)
[biological parent whose rights were terminated has no standing to
assert interest in subsequent custody determination]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Guzman
14-05-00559-CV In the Interest of H.M.M, a Child
Appeal from 278th District Court of Walker County
(“Appellant Lashawn Mays, the biological mother of H.M.M., appeals
the trial court’s failure to grant sole custody to her father after it
terminated her parental rights and ordered that H.M.M. remain in the
custody of Child Protective Services. Because appellant has no
standing to challenge the trial court’s order, we affirm.”)

In re N.G., P.L.G. and S.G.  (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] April 27,
2006)(per curiam)(termination of parental rights)
AFFIRMED: Per Curiam
Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore
14-05-00705-CV In the Interest of N.G., P.L.G. and S.G.
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County (Hon. John
Phillips)

Forde v. Martinez (Tex.App.-Houston April 13, 2006)(Edelman)
[
denial of retroactive child support affirmed, Family Code factors to
be considered by trial court in determining how much should be
ordered, if any]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Richard Edelman
Before Judge Murphy, Justices Edelman and Guzman
(Senior Chief Justice Paul C. Murphy sitting by assignment)
14-04-00714-CV Jessica Forde v. Edwin Geovani Martinez
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County, Judge K.
Randall Hufstetler

In re: Stenson (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] May 11, 2006)
(Anderson)
[family law,
child support enforcement, habeas corpus relief
granted, ambiguous order of contempt is void, court did not address
whether attorneys fees enforceable by contempt, release ordered]
MOTION OR WRIT GRANTED: Opinion by Justice Anderson
Before Justices Anderson, Edelman and Frost
14-06-00094-CV In Re: Dwayne Thomas Stenson
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Judy L.
Warne)


Baker v. Donovan (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] May 4,
2006)(Hanks)
[divorce, clarification order, enforcement, retirement
benefits]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Hanks
Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks
01-05-00178-CV Michael Allen Baker v. Karen Ruth Baker
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (Hon.
Russell Lloyd)

Beyers v. Roberts (Tex.App.- Houston [1st. Dist.] Apr. 27, 2006, no
pet.)(Bland)(
SAPCR, modification, mediated settlement agreement)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Bland
Before Justices Taft, Higley and Bland
01-04-00619-CV        Kenneth P. Beyers v. Jeanette F. Roberts and
Judson W. Roberts
Appeal from 311th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Doug Warne)

Stewart v. Stewart (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] April 20, 2006)
[spousal maintenance limitation to 12 months affirmed despite
disability]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Chief Justice Radack
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Jennings and Alcala
01-04-01126-CV Lynne Stewart v. Darrell Lynn Stewart
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County

In re E.S.C. (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] March 2006)(Hudson)
[parental rights termination, children used for shoplifting]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Harvey Hudson
Before Justices Hudson, Seymore and Guzman
14-04-01160-CV In the Interest of E.S.C and L.M.M.
Appeal from 328th District Court of Fort Bend County

In re T.S. et al  (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] March 30, 2006)(Frost)
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Opinion by Justice Kem Thompson
Frost
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-05-00284-CV In the Interest of T.S., E.S. and V.S.
Appeal from 300th District Court of Brazoria County

In re J.M.D. (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] March 30, 2006)(Frost)
[
Child support, dormant judgment, ex post facto law, constitutional
challenge]
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Kem Frost
Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore
14-03-01196-CV In the Interest of J. M. D.
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Judge James D.
Squier)

In Re Talis Lee Rande Delaney (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Mar.
20, 2006)(per curiam)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Per Curiam
(Before Justices Hudson, Fowler and Seymore)
14-06-00188-CV        In Re Talis Lee Rande Delaney
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (
Hon. Judy Warne)

Nelson v. Chaney (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.] March 24, 2006)
(Keyes)
[family law,
bill of review to set aside paternity default judgment,
summary judgment affirmed]
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Keyes
(Before Justices Nuchia, Keyes and Hanks)
01-04-01058-CV Donald Nelson v. Evangeline Chaney
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Judge Jim Squier)
Petitioner’s attorney: Ronald G. Ray
Respondent’s attorneys: Kathryn Marie Diaz, Rhonda Pressley, John
B. Worley

Harmon v. Bitzer (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb 21, 2006)
(Fowler)
(
restricted appeal, clarification of a domestic relations order,
attorneys fees)
AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED & REMANDED IN PART: Opinion
by Justice Fowler
(Before Justices Fowler, Edelman and Guzman)
14-04-00921-CV        Kimberly Ann Harmon f/k/a Kimberly Ann Bitzer
v. Alan Howard Bitzer
Appeal from 247th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:  
Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums

Barry v. Barry (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 16, 2007)(Higley)
[
default divorce, restricted appeal, attorneys fees]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Higley
Before Justices Taft, Higley and Bland
01-05-00551-CV        Dan R. Barry v. Teresa Barry
Appeal from 312th District Court of Harris County (Hon. James
Squier)

In Re: Suzanne C. Saperstein (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 6,
2007)(Seymore) (mandamus denial without explanation)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Justice Seymore
(Before Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore)
14-05-01154-CV In Re: Suzanne C. Saperstein
Appeal from 310th District Court of Harris County (Judge Lisa A.
Millard)   

Hamlett v. Hamlett and OAG (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb.2,
2006)(Higley)(
family law appeal, bill of review, restricted appeal)
DISMISS APPEAL: Opinion by Justice Higley
Before Justices Taft, Higley and Bland
01-04-01097-CV Christopher Hamlett v. Janice Hamlett and Office of
the Attorney General
Appeal from 245th District Court of Harris County (Hon. Annette
Galik)

Russell v. Russell (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb.2, 2006)
(Nuchia)
[
family law, divorce, property division, separate property, value of
estate]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Nuchia
Before Justices Nuchia, Jennings and Higley
01-04-00984-CV Roger Russell v. Tamara Russell
Appeal from 311th District Court of Harris County (Hon. Doug Warne)

Halm v. Halm (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 2, 2006)(Edelman)
(
restricted appeal, default judgment in family law case reversed, set
aside) REVERSED AND REMANDED: Justice Edelman
Before Justices Fowler, Edelman and Guzman
14-05-00123-CV        Joe Brent Halm v. Tamary Gray Halm
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Linda MotheraI

Binder v. Safady (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb.2, 2006)(Keyes)
[family law,
restriced appeal, default judgment reversed]
REVERSE TC JUDGMENT AND REMAND CASE TO TC FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS: Opinion by Justice Keyes
Before Justices Taft, Keyes and Hanks
01-04-00792-CV Mary Binder f/k/a Mary Safady v. Danny Joe Safady
Appeal from 257th District Court of Harris County (Hon. Linda
Motheral)

In the Interest of L.A.M. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan 24, 2006)
(Hedges)(SAPCR, visitation)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Anderson
14-05-00166-CV        In The Interest of L.A.M., a Child
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (Judge Jim York)

In Re Tara Compton (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 24, 2006)
(Edelman)(
SAPCR, MTV, venue, motion to transfer venue)
MOTION OR WRIT GRANTED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
Before Justices Edelman, Seymore and Guzman
14-05-00450-CV        In Re: Tara Compton
Appeal from 306th District Court of Galveston County (Judge Janis
Louise Yarbrough)

Engineer v. Engineer (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 31, 2006)
(Edelman)
(
divorce, property division, final decree inconsistent with mediated
agreement, arbitration decision)
REVERSED AND REMANDED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
(Before Justices Brock Yates, Edelman and Guzman)
14-03-00660-CV        Katy Engineer v. Mike Engineer
Appeal from 387th District Court of Fort Bend County (Hon. Robert J.
Kern)

In the Interest of L.A.M. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jan 24, 2006)
(Hedges)(SAPCR, visitation)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Chief Justice Hedges
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Anderson
14-05-00166-CV        In The Interest of L.A.M., a Child
Appeal from 246th District Court of Harris County (Judge Jim York)

Recent 2007 Texas Family Law Cases from the
Texas Supreme Court and the Houston Courts of
Appeals

Wedding did not warrant continuance - trial court did not
err in going forward with trial, chief justice says

Mom on drugs fails opportunity to shape up; has her
parental rights terminated; grandmother fails to step up
to the plate

Attempted appeal in default divorce rejected as untimely

Who said Texas does not have alimony?

Award of tort damages in divorce affirmed by court of
appeals

Fault considered in property division even though
divorce granted on no-fault grounds

First Court of Appeals frees mother held in contempt for
visitation denial by family court judge Georgia Dempster

Which SAPCR issues are for the jury and which are
properly decided by the judge?

Mandamus in bid to lift TRO barring mother from contact
with children denied

Criminal conviction in child abuse case vacated on order
of higher court

Clarifying Order Must Be Consistent With Divorce Decree

Domestic Violence Conviction Overturned - Victim Did
Not Testify at Trial

Petition to Modify Primary Custody Granted Less that a
Year After Divorce Decree Was Entered

Award of 100% of the Home Equity to Wife Affirmed
Based on Stipulation

Habeas Corpus Granted in Child Support Contempt Case
Against Disabled Lawyer - Trial Court Violated Due
Process in Dismissing Inability-to-Pay Defense as
Irrelevant

Family Court Judge Exceeded Her Limited Power to
Clarify Property Provisions of Final Decree of Divorce.
Divorce court retains jurisdiction to clarify and enforce its
prior order, but may not modify the property division.

Houston Appellate Court Orders Transfer of Venue
SAPCR/Modification Suit

Former wife prevails in suit for post-divorce division of
property; gets 50% share in retirement money not
addressed in decree

Defaulting Bio Dad's Parental Rights Restored on Appeal

Gotcha Justice: Nonresident's Fight to Invalidate Default
Judgment for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Lands Him in
a No-Win Situation

Children's Amicus Attorney Should Not Have Filed
Appellate Brief
Interesting Recent Family Law Cases
from the
Houston Courts of Appeals
Harris County Family Law Center in Downtown Houston, TX
Harris County (Houston) Family Courts and Family
Court Judges
245th District Court   Judge Annette Galik Annette Kuntz
246th District Court   Judge Jim York
247th District Court   Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums
257th District Court   Judge Judy Warne
Former Judge of the 257th: Hon. Linda Motheral
308th District Court   Judge Georgia Dempster
309th District Court   Judge Frank B. Rynd
310th District Court   Judge Lisa Millard
311th District Court   Judge Doug Warne
312th District Court   Judge David Farr
312th District Court   Judge James D. Squier (formerly)

OTHER CASE LAW CATEGORIES


Family Law Mediation and Arbitation
Grandparents and Nonparent Custody
ISD and School Law Cases
Labor & Employment Cases
Immunity Case Law
Consumer Law and DTPA Cases
Insurance Litigation Cases
Texas Homeowner Law Cases  
Real Estate Transaction Cases
Ad Valorem Tax Litigation  
Texas Lease Law Cases  
Debt Collection Case Law
Credit Card and Debt Suits
Texas Construction Law Cases
Personal Injury Law Tort Cases