Appeal from the 247th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 1998-22041
consists of Justices Jamison, Wise, and Jewell.
Theodore Ladd-Keller failed to comply with a show cause order
to appear at a hearing on appellee Crystal L. Ladd's
motion for enforcement of a child support order. After the
evidentiary hearing, the trial court signed a default
judgment awarding Crystal child support arrearages, plus
interest. Theodore challenges the default judgment on the
ground that he did not receive notice of the hearing
consistent with his due process rights. Because the record
shows Theodore was afforded the statutorily required notice
of the hearing, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
and Crystal were divorced in 1999. The final divorce decree
reflects that they had one child. In the divorce decree, the
trial court ordered Theodore to pay child support of $429.76
per month, beginning February 1, 1999, and continuing until
the child reached eighteen years of age. In October 2014,
about five months after the child's eighteenth birthday,
Crystal filed a motion for enforcement of the child support
order contained in the divorce decree. In her motion, Crystal
asserted that Theodore violated the trial court's child
support order and owed arrearages of $79, 075.84, plus
interest of $38, 107.30, for a total of $117, 183.14. Crystal
sought confirmation of, and judgment for, the arrearages plus
connection with Crystal's motion for enforcement, the
trial court signed a show cause order to appear, requiring
that Theodore appear in court on June 3, 2015, and respond to
Crystal's motion for enforcement. A process server
personally served Theodore with the motion and show cause
order on May 20, 2015, at Theodore's Oregon address.
Theodore filed a pro se general denial on June 2, 2015. He
failed to appear at the June 3, 2015 hearing, and Crystal
introduced evidence of the arrearages. On June 15, 2015, the
trial court signed a default judgment against Theodore for
child support arrearages, including accrued interest.
filed a motion to set aside the default judgment in July.
After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. This
appeal timely followed.
single issue, Theodore contends he was deprived of due
process of law because he never received notice of the June
3, 2015 hearing, despite his timely filing of an answer. We
Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 245, Theodore asserts that the
trial court was required to provide "reasonable notice
of not less than forty-five days" before conducting a
hearing on Crystal's motion for enforcement. He further
relies on post-answer default judgment cases to support his
claim of a due process violation. See, e.g., LBL
Oil Co. v. Int'l Power Servs., Inc., 777 S.W.2d 390,
390-91 (Tex. 1989) ("Once a defendant has made an
appearance in a cause, he is entitled to notice of the trial
setting as a matter of due process. . . .").
to Theodore's argument, child support enforcement
proceedings are governed by the Texas Family Code.
See Tex. Fam. Code § 157.001(c) ("The
court may enforce a temporary or final order for child
support as provided in this chapter."); see
also Tex. R. Civ. P. 308a. Specifically, Texas Family
Code section 157.062 addresses the notice and hearing
requirements for a motion for enforcement. See Tex.
Fam. Code § 157.062; In re Hathcox, 981 S.W.2d
422, 425 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 1998, no pet.) (determining
that section 157.062, rather than the Rules of Civil
Procedure, govern the notice and hearing requirements for
motions to enforce).
section 157.062, if a motion for enforcement of a child
support order is joined with another claim, the Texas Rules
of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original
lawsuit apply and a hearing may not be "held before 10
a.m. on the first Monday after the 20th day after the date of
service." See Tex. Fam. Code § 157.062(d);
see also Hathcox, 981 S.W.2d at 425. Conversely, if
the motion for enforcement is not joined with
another claim, section 157.062 requires only that a
respondent be personally served with a copy of the motion and
notice "not later than the 10th day before the date of
the hearing." Tex. Fam. Code § 157.062(c).
case, Crystal's motion for enforcement was not joined
with another claim; thus section 157.062 mandated personal
service on Theodore at least ten days before the hearing.
Id. The record reflects that Theodore was personally
served with the trial court's show cause order to appear,
as well as Crystal's motion to enforce, on May 20, 2015,
more than ten days before the date of the June 3, 2015
hearing.Cf. Ex parte Davis, 344 S.W.2d
153, 155 (Tex. 1961) (orig. ...