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In re B.M.Y.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

July 26, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF B.M.Y. AND J.M.Y., CHILDREN

         On Appeal from the 301st Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-98-16446-T

          Before Justices Bridges, Lang-Miers, and Evans

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DAVID EVANS JUSTICE

         Appellant G.J.Y. (Father) appeals the judgment which awarded appellee J.B.Y. (Mother) post-majority expenses of their child. Father contends that the trial court abused its discretion by awarding post-majority expenses without statutory authority or jurisdiction to do so. Father also makes two alternative arguments: (1) the trial court abused its discretion by awarding a judgment for post-majority expenses without sufficient evidence and (2) Mother failed to prove all the conditions precedent were met to recover the post-majority expenses. We reverse and render judgment in favor of Father as to the enforcement of post-majority expenses.

         Background

         On November 30, 1998, Mother and Father entered into an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce and Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (Decree). The Decree contains the following provision entitled "College Education":

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that [Father] shall pay 60% of the expenses required for enrollment and attendance of each of the children as a student at a public or private college, university, or graduate school for so long as a child remains enrolled in a course of study leading to an undergraduate or graduate decree. Expenses shall include tuition, books, room and board, and all incidental fees. [Father] shall make his 60% payments either by paying the school directly or by reimbursing [Mother] for any payments made over and above her 40% share.

         The "College Education" section is an independent section and is not part of either the support or the property distribution sections. Mother and Father each signed the decree and elsewhere it provided that they contractually agreed to all of its provisions.

         On February 3, 2015, Mother filed a motion to enforce the child support order seeking reimbursement for medical expenses, health insurance premiums, and college expenses. Mother subsequently filed several amended motions.

         Father filed an answer on April 9, 2015 and an amended answer on June 8, 2015. In the amended answer, Father asserted that Mother was not entitled to post-majority support because she did not ask for contractual relief and cited this Court's opinion, In re W.R.B., No. 05-12000776-CV, 2014 WL 1008222 (Tex. App.-Dallas Feb. 20, 2014, pet. denied). At the enforcement hearing on January 8, 2016, Father objected frequently on the basis stated in his answer: that the only relief sought was enforcement not breach of contract which was the only relief possible under applicable law based on the text of this decree. The trial court granted Father a running objection on that matter and Mother complained about the number of times Father objected on that basis.

         Following the hearing, the trial court granted Mother's motion. On March 31, 2016, the trial court signed an order awarding Mother $41, 358.63 for college tuition and $1, 492.74 for books and supplies and room and board, plus interest at the rate of 5% from the date of the judgment.

         Father then timely filed his appeal.

          Analysis

         A.Statutory ...


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