Reprinted from the October 23, 2014 Mongoose newsletter. Typically, a temporary order expires with the entry of a final judgment. Coleman v. Texas State Dep't of Welfare, 562 S.W.2d 554, 556 (Tex. Civ. App.--Tyler 1978, writ ref'd n.r.e.). However, the general rule is that the rendition of a divorce decree does not itself nullify any temporary order. Pettus v. Pettus, 237 S.W.3d 405, 416 (Tex. App. - Fort Worth 2007, pet. denied), Ex parte Shaver, 597 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. Civ. App. - Dallas 1980, orig. proceeding); Villarreal v. Villarreal, No. 14-04-00071-CV (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Nov. 23, 2005, no pet.)(mem. op.). Temporary orders can be enforced after entry of the final decree of divorce unless the decree itself discharges the parties from obligations under the temporary orders. Ex parte Shaver, 597 S.W.2d 498, 500 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1980, no writ). The Texas Family Law Practice Manual provides these two different options for a divorce decree regarding ... Read More >
Judge Denise Pratt Finally Rules
The divorce decree in Messier v. Messier (No. 2009-45158) awarded the wife "a portion of the benefits, if any, received by [the husband] upon exercise of the following ConocoPhillips Stock option awards, representing 60% of the community portions from [husband's] employment, subject to all related actual tax liabilities and withholdings..." The husband was not ordered when to exercise his stock options. Two years later, the ex-wife had Bobby Newman file a lawsuit because the ex-husband had not exercised many of his stock options. Judge Pratt conducted a trial on December 19, 2012. Judge Pratt ruled that Mr. Newman would be granted almost all of the relief he was asking for (contempt, declaratory judgment, "clarification" that dramatically changed the ex-husband's obligations regarding the stock options, and $77,000.00 in attorney's fees). An entry hearing was set for March 25 and counsel appeared, including Don Fullenweider and Sallee Smyth for the ex-husband. After waiting ... Read More >
Fishy facts support denial of mother’s motion for enforcement for failure to pay child support.
A 2004 paternity order required the father to pay $500 a month child support through the SDU and he clearly had made no payments to the SDU prior to April 2010. So, how did the mother lose this enforcement suit? The father testified that his signature on the “agreed” paternity order was forged and he testified he did not know he was ordered to pay through the SDU. The father testified that the mother had agreed for him to pay support through direct deposit into her bank account or by use of his debit card. The father introduced evidence of these deposits. The mother should count herself lucky she was not sanctioned for bringing this enforcement action. In the Interest of K.S.H.U., No. 05-12-00448-Cv (Tex. App. - Dallas 5/21/2013). ... Read More >
When an agreement incident to divorce is approved by the court and incorporated into the divorce decree, the agreement constitutes part of a valid and binding final judgment and is enforceable as part of the decree.
The agreement in this case included very large alimony payments to the wife and an agreement for the husband to pay the children’s college expenses. The trial court awarded a judgment of $1,128,000 against the ex-husband and awarded $102,475 in attorney’s fees. The few adjustments made to the judgment by the court of appeals did not reduce the ex-husband’s judgment and he almost certainly considers it a total loss. One lesson: an agreement incident to divorce that is incorporated into the divorce decree is enforceable as part of the decree. Castro v. Castro, No. 14-11-01087-CV (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 5/9/2013). ... Read More >