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In re D.R.G.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

July 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF D.R.G., A MINOR

         On Appeal from the 246th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2012-09649

          Panel consists of Justices Boyce, Busby, and Wise.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Ken Wise Justice

         Mother appeals from the trial court's order in a suit to modify the parent-child relationship. The dispute in this case concerns whether the six-year-old Child immediately may travel by air unaccompanied, or do so only after reaching ten. Mother contends that the trial court erroneously failed to incorporate the parties' Rule 11 agreement concerning the "Provisions for Long Distance Travel" after Father revoked his consent to the agreement and the trial court held a bench trial concerning the best interest of Child.

         Because Father revoked his consent to the Rule 11 agreement and Mother does not challenge the trial court's best-interest finding, we affirm.

         I. Background

         Mother and Father were joint managing conservators with Mother having the exclusive right to designate the primary residence. Each parent filed petitions to modify the parent-child relationship.[1] The parties signed a Rule 11 agreement covering all issues. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 11. The parties agreed to remain joint managing conservators and that Father's support obligation would increase, among other things. One provision related to the age at which Child would be allowed to travel by air without the supervision of Father:

5. The child shall not board any airlines or planes without the supervision of [Father] until such time as the child reaches the age of ten, and order shall include detailed long distance travel provisions as set forth in [Father's] amended pleadings.

(emphasis added). Father requested in his amended petition an order stating that "the child shall not travel alone between the residence of [Mother] and that of [Father] until the child reaches the age of five years." (emphasis added). Father requested an order for various provisions governing "the arrangements for the travel of the child to and from [Father] after the child reaches the age of five years." Specifically, the arrangements provided for each parent to surrender Child to a flight attendant employed by the airline who would be flying on the same flight with Child.

         Four months after signing the Rule 11 agreement, Father filed a "motion for partial revocation of Rule 11 agreement based on coercion and duress concerning long distance travel of the child and request for mediation." Father argued that the Rule 11 agreement contained "conflicting provisions that were not agreed to, " quoting paragraph No. 5 about long-distance travel. Mother filed a "motion to sign final order on petition to modify parent child relationship" in the form attached to the motion, which included the Rule 11 agreement.

         At trial, the court informed the parties that the court needed "some evidence to show why this whole agreement is in the best interest of this child." The court noted that the parties did not have an agreement because Father "revoked the agreement."

         Mother testified that she did not believe it was in Child's best interest to fly unaccompanied at the age of six. Father testified that he was asking the trial court to determine that it was in Child's best interest to fly at the age of five and older as an unaccompanied minor. Father testified that Child would be accompanied by a flight attendant throughout the entire flight. Father testified that Child never would be left alone, and Child would not be in danger.[2]

         The trial court signed an order modifying the parent-child relationship. The court stated that both parties appeared and announced ready for trial. The court found that the modification was in the best interest of Child and that the court's orders were in the best interest of Child. Regarding long-distance travel, the court ordered that Child could travel by air unaccompanied after the age of five.[3]

         Mother appeals, seeking modification of the judgment to prohibit unaccompanied air ...


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