Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: September 20, 2017
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
C. Moseley, Justice.
Hightower, relator, has filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus seeking relief from the trial court's
judgment of contempt and its order of commitment, both
arising out of the divorce proceedings between his son,
Ashley, and the real party in interest, Megan Hightower
(Megan). Hightower contends that the trial court deprived him
of due process (1) when it held him in contempt of a
preliminary ruling of the court that had not been reduced to
a written order of the court and (2) when it provided him
with a show cause order that failed to put him on notice of
what order he allegedly violated, how he allegedly violated
the order, and that he might be held in contempt. Hightower
also contends that the trial court's judgment of contempt
is void because it is not based on the violation of a written
order of the court. We agree that the judgment of contempt is
void and therefore order that Hightower be discharged.
before filing suit for divorce in August 2016, Megan and
Ashley purportedly executed two warranty deeds transferring
two tracts of community property to Hightower. In December
2016, Megan joined Hightower as a third party defendant in
the divorce and sought recovery of the properties, to which
Hightower filed an answer. On June 20, 2017, a final hearing
on the divorce was held in which the trial court considered
all of the issues involved in the proceeding. On June 30,
2017, the trial court sent a document with the heading
OF DRAFT DIVORCE TERMS NOTICE OF HEARING REGARDING
Divorce Terms) to the parties. In relevant part, the Draft
Divorce Terms provide:
Non-homestead Real estate to be sold by Receiver, pay
[Hightower] and/or bank holding first lien. Net proceeds to
be deposited in Court and divided 50% Ashley 50% Megan.
Original lender to be paid to date of closing. [Hightower] to
be paid actual cash paid to an original lender. Lake Lot $47,
350.65. Bogota Building $748.03. White Property $6774.93.
[Hightower] is second tier creditor behind original lender,
taxes and usual costs of sale.
Deeds by Ashley to Danny are voided and real estate is
. . . .
Please note that this is draft [sic], subject to
revision, and dependent upon Nancy and [Hightower] agreeing
to release of Megan. This is also dependent upon Attorney
Stovall accepting plan of immediate sale of real estate to
which they hold a valid lien against.
August 7, 2017, Hightower conveyed the two tracts to Dennis
Cameron. On August 9, 2017, the trial court entered a show