Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
IN THE INTEREST OF A.E. AND G.R., CHILDREN
FROM THE 321ST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT SMITH COUNTY, TEXAS
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
and M.E. are the parents of the child, G.R. On
January 9, 2017, the Department of Family and Protective
Services filed an original petition for protection of
and G.R., for conservatorship, and for termination of
R.R.'s parental rights to G.R. On March 20, R.R. filed a
"statement of inability to afford payment of court costs
or an appeal bond." R.R. also filed a "counterclaim
and third party joinder." The Department sought
dismissal of R.R.'s counterclaim and third party joinder.
The trial court set a hearing to consider both R.R.'s
statement of inability to pay costs and the Department's
motion to dismiss. On May 4, R.R. failed to appear at the
hearing. Accordingly, the trial court granted the
Department's motion and dismissed R.R.'s counterclaim
and third party joinder. The trial court verbally denied the
statement of inability to pay for want of prosecution. R.R.
appealed the denial of his statement of inability to pay
costs and the grant of the Department's motion to
Department filed a motion to dismiss R.R.'s appeal of the
denial of his statement of inability to pay on grounds that
the trial court did not issue an order requiring R.R. to pay
costs; thus, the Department contends there is no order
subject to appellate review. In his response, R.R. maintains
that there is an order for appellate review because: (1) the
trial court made a written notation on the statement of
inability to pay costs, and (2) the district clerk
subsequently requested the filing fee.
Rule of Civil Procedure 145 states that a "party who
files a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court
Costs cannot be required to pay costs except by order of the
court as provided by this rule." Tex.R.Civ.P. 145(a).
The declarant must provide evidence of his inability to
afford costs, but the trial court may order the declarant to
pay costs notwithstanding the statement of inability to pay.
Tex.R.Civ.P. 145(e), (f). The declarant may challenge an
order issued by the trial court by filing a motion in the
appropriate court of appeals. Tex.R.Civ.P. 145(g)(1).
case, the record does not indicate that the trial court
signed an order requiring R.R. to pay costs. See
Tex. R. Civ. P. 145(f). On the face of R.R.'s statement
of inability to pay costs, a handwritten notation states,
"denied for want of prosecution. Didn't appear.
C." On May 5, the district clerk notified R.R. that his
statement of inability to pay had been denied and requested
that he remit the $50 filing fee to avoid dismissal of his
case. To be effective, however, an order must be signed by
the trial court judge. See In re Bill Heard Chevrolet,
Ltd., 209 S.W.3d 311, 314-15 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st
Dist.] 2006, orig. proceeding). While the record indicates
that the trial court denied R.R.'s statement of inability
to pay costs for want of prosecution, it does not contain an
order signed by the trial court that requires R.R. to pay
costs. Accordingly, because the trial court did not sign an
order in accordance with Rule 145, there is no order for us
to review. See In the Interest of K.V., No.
05-17-00251-CV, 2017 WL 1536496, at *1 (Tex. App.-Dallas Apr.
26, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.) (stating that, absent a
judgment or other appealable order, there is nothing for the
appellate court to review). For this reason, we
grant the Department's motion to dismiss, and we
dismiss R.R.'s appeal of the denial of his
statement of inability to pay costs for want of
jurisdiction. See Tex. R. App. P. 42.3(a). This
dismissal does not affect R.R.'s appeal from the trial
court's decision granting the Department's motion to
dismiss R.R.'s counterclaim and third party
CAUSE came to be heard on the appellate record and the
Appellee's motion to dismiss; and the same being
considered, it is the opinion of this Court that R.R.'s
appeal from the denial of his statement of inability to pay
costs should be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED by this Court that
the appeal be, and the same is, hereby dismissed, in part,
for want of jurisdiction; and that this decision be certified
to the court below for observance. This dismissal does not
affect the appeal from the granting of the motion to dismiss
R.R.'s counterclaim and third party joinder.
 M.E. is not a party to this
 A.E. is the child of M.E. and A.A.,
and is not a subject of this ...