Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from the County Court at Law Moore County, Texas Trial
Court No. CL141-99, Honorable Delwin T. McGee, Presiding
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
T. Campbell Justice.
Adam Nanez, proceeding pro se, appeals the trial
court's order confirming a child support arrearage. He
challenges the order through two issues. We will affirm.
Office of the Attorney General of Texas, as the state's
Title IV-D agency, brought suit against Adam Nanez seeking
modification of the child support provisions of the August
2000 divorce decree that ended his marriage to Candace
Michelle Svenningson, formerly Candace Michelle Deatherage,
and seeking confirmation of, and judgment for, a child
support arrearage. Nanez is the father of Svenningson's
two children, T.V.S. and A.N.N. The decree ordered Nanez to
pay child support of $325.00 per month and then $260.00 per
month when T.V.S. reached majority age.
has been incarcerated since 2002. The Attorney General's
financial activity report for Nanez's account reflects a
child support payment only on one occasion, in January 2006.
We will discuss that payment later in our opinion.
trial of the case, the Attorney General did not pursue its
request for modification, noting the older child had reached
adulthood and the younger child was soon to do so. After
hearing evidence, the trial court granted a cumulative
judgment in the amount of $40, 350.11. On appeal, Nanez
challenges the order confirming the child support arrearage.
the issues Nanez raises on appeal challenge the jurisdiction
of the trial court to adjudicate his child support arrearage.
jurisdiction is essential to the authority of a court to
decide a case. Kendall v. Kendall, 340 S.W.3d 483,
495 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.), (citing
Bland Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547,
553-54 (Tex. 2000)). Whether a court has jurisdiction is a
question of law that is reviewed de novo. City of Elsa
v. Gonzalez, 325 S.W.3d 622, 625 (Tex. 2010);
Holmes v. Williams, 355 S.W.3d 215, 218 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.).
facts underlying Nanez's jurisdictional issues are
undisputed. Nanez first argues that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction to hear the Attorney General's suit because
it amounted to an impermissible appeal of a prior order of
the trial court. We cannot agree. The Attorney General's
suit asked the court to modify the child support provisions
of the divorce decree signed August 14, 2000, and to confirm
and enter judgment for the child support arrearage.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 156.001 (court with
continuing, exclusive jurisdiction may modify order that
provides for support); § 157.005(b) (time limitations ...