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Aguirre v. Aguirre

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

May 18, 2017

ALFREDO ARANDA AGUIRRE, Appellant,
v.
VIRGINIA AGUIRRE, Appellee.

         On appeal from the 197th District Court of Cameron County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Hinojosa

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NELDA V. RODRIGUEZ Justice

         Appellant Alfredo Aranda Aguirre contests the trial court's entry of a child-support enforcement order in favor of appellee Virginia Aguirre. By one issue, Alfredo argues that the trial court abused its discretion by not also including an award of interest against him and in favor of Virginia. We affirm.

         The facts of this case are largely undisputed. In 2005, Virginia petitioned for and was granted a divorce from Alfredo. The divorce decree awarded Virginia and Alfredo equal interests in a home in Brownsville, Texas. Virginia was granted sole conservatorship of their three children and the right to receive child support.

         In 2009, Alfredo shot Virginia. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Alfredo pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a sentence of fifteen years. Alfredo's child-support obligations fell into arrears during his confinement.

         In 2015, Virginia moved to enforce the child-support obligations. Acting pro se, Alfredo responded and appeared at a hearing via teleconference. At the hearing, Virginia testified that Alfredo's child-support arrearages totaled $27, 445.78. Virginia also argued that Alfredo owed her contribution for taxes on the home which she and Alfredo owned. Virginia testified that since the divorce, she alone had paid $9, 187.70 of taxes on the home. She asserted that Alfredo owed her a contribution of $4, 593.85.

         Virginia further testified that the home had a market value of $47, 611, and Alfredo's one-half interest in the home was worth $23, 805.50. As relief, Virginia prayed for the trial court to award her sole ownership of the home and to offset the total amount which Alfredo allegedly owed in taxes and child support-$32, 039.63-by the value of Alfredo's interest in the home. As to the remaining balance after any offset, Virginia prayed that the trial court award her a deficiency judgment of $8, 234.13.

         Alfredo testified that he had not paid any taxes on the home, and he agreed that Virginia was entitled to the amount of tax contribution she requested. He further agreed that Virginia had solely been responsible for supporting the children since his incarceration and that as part of the arrearages, he had an outstanding judgment of $8, 291.78 against him.

         Alfredo testified that he had no opinion as to the value of the Brownsville home. While he at first testified that it was his desire that the home be sold, he then testified that he and Virginia "had already committed to leave that house for our children and grandchildren like a safe haven for them. And if it doesn't happen that way, well, then I ask the court that the house and property be sold." Alfredo asked that the proceeds of any sale go to Virginia, and he prayed that the trial court give him "time to get out and pay the support and the arrearage."

         Following the hearing, the trial court entered an "enforcement order" concerning both child support and property taxes. The order purported to transfer the home to Virginia as her sole property and provided that the order itself would serve as muniment of title. The order also commanded Alfredo to execute all documents necessary to effectuate a transfer of his interest to Virginia, including a general warranty deed. The trial court found that the amount of Alfredo's debt to Virginia was $32, 039.63 and ordered that this debt be offset by the fair market value of Alfredo's interest in the home, which was $23, 805.50. Finally, the order set out that the "resulting balance of $8, 234.13" was "still due and owing" to Virginia by Alfredo. Alfredo appeals from the enforcement order.

         On appeal, Alfredo does not challenge any of the above. Instead, by his sole issue, Alfredo seeks a new trial on the ground that the trial court wrongfully failed to award Virginia statutory 6% interest on his arrearage, which would increase the deficiency judgment against him. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 157.265 (West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.). Alfredo cites the rule that "[a]warding interest on child support arrearages is mandatory and the trial court has no discretion to not award the full amount of interest due." In re A.C.B., 302 S.W.3d 560, 566 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2009, no pet.).

         However, generally, an appellate court cannot reverse the trial court based on a complaint not raised in the trial court. Banda v. Garcia, 955 S.W.2d 270, 272 (Tex. 1997) (per curiam). To preserve an issue for appeal, a party must have presented it to the trial court by a timely request, objection, or motion specifically stating the grounds for the desired ruling. See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a)(1). Because Alfredo did not raise this issue before the trial court in any form, the issue is not preserved for our review, and we need not address it. See id.; In re A.A.F., 120 S.W.3d 517, 519 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2003, no pet.) (finding that a similar argument concerning statutory interest on ...


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