Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 255th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-16-02864
Justices Francis, Myers, and Whitehill
case involves the trial court's denial of a post-divorce
decree request to amend a Qualified Domestic Relations Order
(QDRO) to address a discrepancy between the QDRO's
valuation date and the underlying decree's valuation
date. In three issues, Husband argues that: (i) the trial
court abused its discretion by refusing to enter the amended
QDRO; (ii) he was denied due process when the trial court
denied his requested relief without providing notice of the
hearing; and (iii) the trial court's failure to record
the hearing constitutes reversible error. We affirm the trial
trial court's July 24, 2015 rendition granted Husband and
Wife's divorce. The rendition's property to wife list
said she was to receive $120, 000 out of Husband's
401(k): "14) Portion of Husband's IBM 401K $120,
000.00." Husband was to receive "11) Portion of
Husband's IBM 401K $186, 756.66." Husband's
portion appeared to be the remaining balance after Wife's
$120, 000share was subtracted from the then total balance.
final decree, signed on August 21, 2015, provided that
Wife's portion of Husband's IBM 401(k) would be as of
July 23, 2015 and would include "any interest,
dividends, gains, or losses on that amount [$120, 000.00]
arising since that date and more particularly defined in a
Qualified Domestic Relations Order signed by the Court on the
day this Final Decree of Divorce is signed." Again,
Husband was to receive "that portion being as of July
23, 2015 approximately $186, 756.66, together with any"
gains or losses since the date specified in the QDRO.
same day, the court entered a QDRO awarding Wife $120, 000
out of Husband's IBM 401(k) as of the "Valuation
Date, " which the QDRO defined to be August 21, 2015.
The QDRO further provided that Wife's "award is
entitled to earnings (gains and losses) from the Valuation
Date to the date the award is segregated from [Husband's]
party appealed from the decree or the QDRO. More
specifically, Husband did not file any post-judgment
challenges to the decree or the QDRO while the court retained
123 days later, on December 22, 2015, Husband filed a motion
to modify or clarify the QDRO. On January 27, 2016, the court
conducted a hearing on that motion, which it "dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction."
on February 8, 2016, Husband filed a petition requesting an
amended QDRO under Family Code § 9.101. The petition
stated only that valuation date was wrong in the original
QDRO, and requested an amendment of the QDRO to effectuate
the property division stated in the divorce decree and asked
for attorney's fees, expenses, costs, and interest. Wife
answered with a general denial.
court held a May 31 hearing at which counsel for both parties
appeared, and the parties stipulated to several facts,
including that Wife had already received her $120, 000
payment from the plan. When the hearing concluded, the trial
court found that no subsequent or extraneous event rendered
the QDRO ambiguous and denied the requested amendment.
Husband timely requested findings of fact and conclusions of
law, which were filed. The findings state, inter
alia, that the QDRO division date was August 21, 2015,
the date of the judgment. This appeal followed.
Did the trial court err by refusing to amend the
Standard of Review
review a trial court's property division for an abuse of
discretion. Swaab v. Swaab, 282 S.W.3d 519, 524
(Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, pet. dism'd
w.o.j.). We likewise review the trial court's ruling on a
post-divorce motion to enforce or clarify a divorce decree
under an abuse of discretion standard. See in re Marriage
of McDonald, 118 S.W.3d 829, 832 (Tex. App.-Texarkana
2003, pet. denied).
family law case, legal and factual sufficiency of the
evidence are not independent grounds for reversal, but they
are relevant factors in assessing whether the trial court
abused its discretion. Moore v. ...