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In re J.D.L.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler

December 21, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.D.L., A CHILD

         Appeal from the 369th District Court of Anderson County, Texas (Tr.Ct. No. DCCV17-070-369)

          Panel consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          James T. Worthen Chief Justice

         Jeremy Dean Laymance, pro se, appeals the trial court's order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. On appeal, he presents seven issues. We affirm.

         Background

         Jeremy Laymance and Morgan Mosley are the parents of J.D.L. On February 14, 2017, John Van Compernolle and Sharon Van Compernolle, maternal great-grandparents of J.D.L., filed a first amended original petition in suit affecting the parent-child relationship, alleging that the parents have engaged in a history or pattern of child neglect and drug abuse. John and Sharon requested that they be appointed sole managing conservators of the child and requested that the trial court issue a temporary restraining order against the parents. On February 15, 2017, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order, and an order setting a hearing on the temporary orders. Twelve days later, the trial court ordered that the temporary restraining order be extended, and extended the date of the hearing on the temporary orders. On March 3, 2017, the trial court held a hearing on John and Sharon's application for temporary orders. The trial court found that Jeremy "although duly and properly notified, did not appear and wholly made default." The trial court ordered that John and Sharon be appointed temporary sole managing conservators, and that Jeremy be appointed temporary possessory conservator of the child. However, the trial court found that credible evidence was presented that Jeremy and Morgan had a history or pattern of family violence, abuse, and/or neglect. The trial court ordered that Jeremy and Morgan have no possession of, or contact with, the child until further order of the court. The trial court also issued a temporary injunction against Jeremy and Morgan.

         According to Jeremy's brief, he and Morgan were served a copy of John and Sharon's petition on March 15, 2017 while in the White County Detention Center in the State of Arkansas. The record shows that Jeremy and Morgan were arrested and charged with interference with child custody on March 3, 2017. Jeremy and Morgan filed an answer to John and Sharon's petition on March 21, 2017, requesting that they be appointed sole managing conservators of the child.

         Jeremy filed several pleadings in June 2017, including a motion to set the petition for hearing, a motion to amend pleadings, interrogatories, a request for production, and a motion for joinder of parties. On June 29, 2017, the trial court entered the final order in suit affecting the parent-child relationship. The trial court found that Jeremy and Morgan made a general appearance and were duly notified of trial, but failed to appear and defaulted. The trial court appointed John and Sharon as sole managing conservators, and Jeremy and Morgan as possessory conservators of the child. The trial court also granted Jeremy and Morgan visitation under John and Sharon's supervision on the days and times prescribed by them, and ordered Jeremy and Morgan to pay child support.

         After the final order was signed, Jeremy filed several motions including two motions to compel discovery and a motion for summary judgment. Jeremy filed a timely notice of appeal.

         Temporary Orders

         In his third and fourth issues, Jeremy argues the trial court erred by issuing a temporary restraining order without notice, extending the temporary restraining order without notice, and issuing temporary orders, including a temporary injunction, without notice or personal service. It is well-settled that a temporary order is superseded by entry of a final order, rendering moot any complaint about the temporary order. See In re A.K., 487 S.W.3d 679, 683 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2016, no pet.); Erlewine v. Erlewine, No. 03-06-00308-CV, 2007 WL 2462042, at *2 (Tex. App.-Austin Aug. 29, 2007, no pet.) (mem. op.) (concluding temporary order modifying child support was no longer in effect when superseded by final judgment and complaint about modification was moot); see also Wright v. Wentzel, 749 S.W.2d 228, 234 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1988, no writ). In other words, after the trial court enters its final order, any complaints about temporary orders become moot. Mauldin v. Clements, 428 S.W.3d 247, 262 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no pet.).

         Here, the record shows that the trial court issued a temporary restraining order on February 15, 2017, extended the temporary restraining order, and issued temporary orders, including a temporary injunction, on March 3, 2017. However, the trial court entered the final order in suit affecting the parent-child relationship on June 29, 2017. That order appointed John and Sharon as sole managing conservators, and Jeremy and Morgan as possessory conservators of the child. Because the trial court rendered a final order in the suit affecting the parent-child relationship, Jeremy's complaints about the temporary orders are moot and not subject to review on appeal. See In re A.K., 487 S.W.3d at 683; see also Wright, 749 S.W.2d at 234; L.F. v. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., Nos. 01-10-01148-CV, 01-10-01149-CV, 2012 WL 1564547, at *14 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] May 3, 2012, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (declining to consider temporary orders authorizing emergency removal after final order of termination entered). We overrule Jeremy's third and fourth issues.

         Service

         In his sixth issue, Jeremy contends that the final order affecting the parent-child relationship was null and void because he did not receive proper service of citation and the officer's return was not filed with the clerk. However, Jeremy admitted in his brief that he was served with citation on March 15, 2017 while in the White County Detention Center in the State of Arkansas. He also stated that he received a copy of John and Sharon's petition. Moreover, he filed an answer to John and Sharon's petition on March 21, 2017. Jeremy's answer constituted a general appearance in the underlying suit which renders his argument of defective service of process moot. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 121 ("[a]n answer shall constitute an appearance of the defendant so as to dispense with the ...


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