Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re R.D.T.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont

May 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF R.D.T.

          Submitted on April 10, 2017

         On Appeal from the 1st District Court Jasper County, Texas Trial Cause No. 35869

          Before McKeithen, C.J., Horton and Johnson, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STEVE McKEITHEN Chief Justice.

         Appellant E.C. appeals from an order terminating his parental rights to his minor child, R.D.T. In two appellate issues, E.C. contends that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to show that (1) he failed to support R.D.T. in accordance with his ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition, and (2) terminating his parental rights was in the best interest of R.D.T. We affirm the trial court's order.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In January 2015, K.T., R.D.T.'s mother, filed her original petition in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. In March 2015, the trial court conducted a hearing and signed temporary orders appointing K.T. and E.C. temporary managing conservators of R.D.T., awarding K.T. the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of R.D.T., ordering E.C. to pay child support in the amount of $408.84 per month beginning in April 2015, and ordering any employer of E.C. to withhold child support from his earnings. In May 2015, the trial judge signed the temporary orders.

         In September 2016, K.T. filed a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship between E.C. and R.D.T. on the grounds that E.C. had (1) failed to support the child in accordance with his ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition, and (2) committed the offense of injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person with intent to commit bodily injury and was incarcerated in the county jail. K.T. further alleged that termination was in the best interest of R.D.T. In November 2016, the trial court conducted a final hearing on K.T.'s petition to terminate and found, by clear and convincing evidence, that a statutory ground existed for termination of E.C.'s parental rights, and that termination of E.C.'s parental rights was in the best interest of the child. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1)(F), (b)(2) (West Supp. 2016).

         ANALYSIS

         In issue one, E.C argues that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to establish that he failed to support the child according to his means during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1)(F). E.C contends that because he was unemployed for approximately two months, K.T. failed to establish that E.C. had the ability to pay child support each and every month of a consecutive twelvemonth period.

         Under legal sufficiency review, we review all the evidence in the light most favorable to the finding to determine whether "a reasonable trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or conviction that its finding was true." In the Interest of J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 266 (Tex. 2002). We assume that the factfinder resolved disputed facts in favor of its finding if a reasonable factfinder could, and we disregard all evidence that a reasonable factfinder could have disbelieved or found to have been incredible. Id. If no reasonable factfinder could form a firm belief or conviction that the matter that must be proven is true, the evidence is legally insufficient. Id.

         Under factual sufficiency review, we must determine whether the evidence is such that a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the truth of the Department's allegations. Id. We give due consideration to evidence that the factfinder could reasonably have found to be clear and convincing. Id. We consider whether disputed evidence is such that a reasonable factfinder could not have resolved that disputed evidence in favor of its finding. Id. If, in light of the entire record, the disputed evidence that a reasonable factfinder could not have credited in favor of the finding is so significant that a factfinder could not reasonably have formed a firm belief or conviction, the evidence is factually insufficient. Id.

         The decision to terminate parental rights must be supported by clear and convincing evidence, i.e., "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 (West 2014); see also In the Interest of J.L., 163 S.W.3d 79, 84 (Tex. 2005). The movant must show that the parent committed one or more predicate acts or omissions and that termination is in the child's best interest. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001 (West Supp. 2016); see also In the Interest of J.L., 163 S.W.3d at 84. We will affirm a judgment if any one of the grounds is supported by legally and factually sufficient evidence and the best interest finding is also supported by legally and factually sufficient evidence. In the Interest of C.A.C., Jr., No. 09-10-00477-CV, 2011 WL 1744139, at *1 (Tex. App.- Beaumont May 5, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.).

         Section 161.001(1)(F) allows for termination if the trial court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has "failed to support the child in accordance with the parent's ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition." Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(1)(F). The trial court heard evidence that E.C. was ordered to pay child support in the amount of $408.84 per month, beginning on April 1, 2015. K.T. testified that in January 2015, she filed a petition in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship because E.C. had denied paternity, and a DNA test confirmed that E.C. is the father of R.D.T. K.T. explained that as of November 2016, she had not received any child support for R.D.T., who was twenty months old when the final hearing occurred. According to K.T., E.C. had not provided any monetary or non-monetary support for the past year, although ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.