Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
IN THE INTEREST OF P.T., JR. AND J.T., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 72nd District Court Crosby County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2016-7867; Honorable Kara L. Darnell,
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
A.T.,  attempts to appeal an order terminating
her parental rights to her children, P.T., Jr. and J.T., in a
suit brought by the Department of Family and Protective
Services. We dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction.
December 2, 2016, A.T. executed an affidavit voluntarily
relinquishing her parental rights to P.T., Jr. and J.T. On
December 6, the trial court signed an order of
termination. Consequently, A.T.'s notice of appeal
was due within twenty days after the order was signed, i.e.,
by December 27. See Tex. R. App. P. 26.1(b) (In
an accelerated appeal, the notice of appeal must be filed
within twenty days after the judgment or order is signed.);
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 263.405 (West 2014) (The appeal of
a final order terminating parental rights in a suit brought
by the Department is an accelerated appeal.). This deadline
could have been extended to January 11, 2017, had A.T. filed
a notice of appeal and a motion for extension within the
fifteen-day extension period. See Tex. R. App. P.
26.3; Verburgt v. Dorner, 959 S.W.2d 615, 617 (Tex.
1997) (implying a motion for extension when an appellant
files a notice of appeal within fifteen days of the notice
deadline). A.T. did not file a notice of appeal, however,
until February 2, 2017. The district clerk did not send a
copy of A.T.'s notice of appeal to the clerk of this
court until October 6, 2017. See Tex. R. App. P.
letter of October 11, 2017, this court notified A.T. that her
notice of appeal appeared untimely and directed her to file a
response showing how this court has jurisdiction. A.T.'s
appellate counsel filed a response acknowledging that the
notice of appeal was not filed timely and, therefore, the
court is without jurisdiction. The response included an
affidavit from A.T.'s trial counsel and a copy of a
letter sent by trial counsel to A.T. on December 6, 2016. By
this letter, trial counsel provided A.T. a copy of the order
of termination, advised her of the right to appeal, and
notified her of the notice of appeal deadline. According to
the affidavit, trial counsel did not have any communication
with A.T. after sending the letter. On January 30, 2017,
after the notice of appeal deadline had expired, appellate
counsel was appointed. A notice of appeal was filed two days
timely notice of appeal is essential to invoking this
court's jurisdiction. See Tex. R. App. P.
25.1(b). Notwithstanding that the Supreme Court of Texas has
directed us to construe the Rules of Appellate Procedure
reasonably and liberally so that the right of appeal is not
lost by imposing requirements not absolutely necessary to
effect the purpose of those rules; Verburgt, 959
S.W.2d at 616-17, we are prohibited from altering the time
for perfecting an appeal in a civil case. See Tex.
R. App. P. 2 (providing that we may not suspend a rule's
operation or order a different procedure to alter the time
for perfecting an appeal in a civil case). This court has no
discretion to permit A.T.'s untimely filed notice of
appeal to confer jurisdiction over this appeal.
we dismiss the purported appeal for want of
jurisdiction. See Tex. R. App. P. 42.3(a).
 To protect the privacy of the parties
involved, we refer to them by their initials. See
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 109.002(d) (West Supp. 2017).
See also Tex. R. App. P. 9.8(b).
 The associate judge signed the order
of termination on December 6, 2016. Because no party filed a
request for a de novo hearing before the referring
court, the associate judge's order became the order of
the referring court by operation of law without ratification
by the referring court and the appellate timetables began to
run on December 6. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§§ 201.2041(a) (West 2014), 201.2042 (West 2014),
201.015(a) (West Supp. 2017); In re A.M.F., Nos.
07-16-00046-CV, 07-16-0047-CV, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 5118, at
*2 (Tex. App.-Amarillo May 12, 2016, no pet.) (mem.
 The twentieth day after December 6,
2016, fell on Monday, December 26, a legal holiday.
Accordingly, the notice of appeal deadline was extended to
Tuesday, December 27. See Tex. R. App. P.
 Although we are without jurisdiction
to review the order of termination, A.T. may seek relief from
the Supreme Court of Texas by filing a petition for review.
See C.S.F. v. Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective
Servs., 505 S.W.3d 618, 619 (Tex. 2016) (order)
("the statutory right to counsel in parental-rights
termination cases included, as a matter of due process, the
right to effective counsel . . . we have extended this
holding to effective assistance of counsel in pursuing an
appeal; procedural requirements, in some cases, may have to
yield to constitutional guarantees of due process");
In re J.O.A., 283 S.W.3d 336 (Tex. 2009). See
also In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27 (Tex. 2016) (per
curiam) (imposing on appointed counsel a ...