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In re E.G.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

August 31, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF E.G.

         FROM THE 43RD DISTRICT COURT OF PARKER COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. CV09-1135

          PANEL: MEIER, SUDDERTH, and KERR, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          BILL MEIER JUSTICE

         I. Introduction

         In three issues, Appellant, the mother of E.G., appeals the trial court's order awarding Appellee, the child's father, attorney's fees and denying her claims that she is entitled to retroactive child support and medical expenses related to E.G.[2] We will affirm.

         II. Background

         Appellant and Appellee married in 1991. Appellant filed for divorce in 2009, and on May 17, 2011, the trial court signed a Final Decree of Divorce. In that decree, Appellee was ordered to pay child support beginning May 1, 2011, with that duty terminating when E.G. turned eighteen years old or graduated from high school. After E.G. graduated and turned eighteen, Appellee's employer continued to withhold child support for another seventeen weeks, totaling $3, 628.82 in overpayments.

         Because Appellee was unsuccessful in getting the withholdings terminated, he filed a petition to terminate the withholding order and to recover the excess payments. After initially filing a general denial, Appellant, in her first amended pleading, alleged an affirmative defense of excessive demand as well as claims against Appellee for fifty percent of out-of-pocket medical expenses, reimbursement for various expenses related to E.G.'s attending college, and retroactive child support.

         At the hearing on Appellee's petition and Appellant's counter-petition, Appellee testified that his employer told him that he needed a letter from the Office of the Attorney General to stop the withholding and that the Office of the Attorney General said that he needed to contact the Parker County District Clerk. According to Appellee, the Parker County District Clerk directed him to paperwork on a website that required Appellant's signature. He averred that Appellant, though aware of the overpayments, refused to reimburse him and refused to sign the paperwork he believed he needed to stop the withholding. Appellee said that because of Appellant's lack of cooperation, he retained counsel and filed the petition to terminate withholding.

         Regarding medical expenses, Appellee testified that Appellant had never provided him notice that she had incurred any out-of-pocket medical expenses as required by the divorce decree. He also stated that because he provided E.G. with insurance, he had received documents from the insurance company, including explanation-of-benefits documents, but that he always forwarded those documents to Appellant and that he had never read them.

         Appellant testified that she did not sign the paperwork Appellee presented to her because she thought she would waive her rights to retroactive child support and because Appellee was demanding that she leave E.G.'s graduation celebration so that the two of them could sign the paperwork with a notary. Appellant also testified she received the seventeen overpayments but did not reimburse Appellee.

         The trial court granted judgment in favor of Appellee in the amount of $3, 628.82 for reimbursement of excess payments and also awarded Appellee's counsel $1, 000.00 in attorney's fees. The trial court denied Appellant's claims for medical expenses, other expenses related to E.G.'s attending college, and retroactive child support. This appeal followed.

         III. Discussion

         A. ...


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