Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 45th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015-CI-02273 Honorable Larry Noll, Judge Presiding
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice
Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice.
Goss appeals from the trial court's judgment granting his
petition for divorce. Although represented by counsel at
trial, Andrew appears pro se in this appeal. In three issues,
Andrew argues the trial court abused its discretion by (1)
placing time limits on the presentation of evidence at trial;
(2) appointing him and his former wife, Shakia Goss, joint
managing conservators of their children; and (3)
miscalculating the amount of money Shakia owed him for
child-care expenses. We overrule all three issues and affirm
the trial court's judgment.
and Shakia were married in 1999. The couple had eight
children. On February 10, 2015, after more than fifteen years
of marriage, Andrew filed a petition for divorce. In
response, Shakia filed an answer.
case was tried to the court. At trial, the primary contested
issue was conservatorship of Andrew and Shakia's eight
children. Three witnesses testified: Andrew, Shakia, and the
counselor who had prepared the social study. In closing
arguments, Andrew argued that credible evidence had been
presented showing that Shakia had a history or pattern of
past or present physical abuse against him, and therefore,
the trial court was precluded from appointing him and Shakia
joint managing conservators. Andrew further argued that the
trial court should appoint him sole managing conservator.
Alternatively, Andrew argued that the trial court should
appoint him the joint managing conservator with the exclusive
right to determine the children's primary residence.
other hand, Shakia argued that the trial court was not
precluded from appointing her and Andrew joint managing
conservators. Shakia further argued that the trial court
should appoint her the joint managing conservator with the
exclusive right to determine the children's primary
considering the evidence and the arguments presented, the
trial court granted the divorce and appointed Andrew and
Shakia joint managing conservators. The trial court found
that "no credible evidence  exists that would cause
the Court to do otherwise." The trial court appointed
Andrew the joint managing conservator with the right to
designate the primary residence of the oldest child, and
Shakia the joint managing conservator with the right to
designate the primary residence of the other seven children.
The trial court restricted the residence of the children to
Bexar County, Texas. Additionally, the trial court ordered an
extended standard possession order. The trial court also
ordered Andrew to pay child support. Because it concluded
that Shakia owed Andrew $200.00 for child-care expenses, the
trial court applied a $200.00 credit to Andrew's first
child support payment. Andrew appealed.
Limit at Trial
first issue, Andrew argues the trial court abused its
discretion by placing unreasonable time limits on the
presentation of evidence at trial. Andrew asserts that he was
only able to offer ten percent of his evidence, and that he
was denied "his fundamental due process right of being
trial court has the inherent power to control the disposition
of the cases on its docket with economy of time and effort
for itself, for counsel, and for litigants. State v.
Gaylor Inv. Trust P'shp, 322 S.W.3d 814, 819 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2010, no pet.). The trial
court's inherent power along with the applicable rules of
procedure and evidence give it broad, but not unfettered,
discretion in handling trials. In the Interest of
Z.C.J., No. 04-12-00010-CV, 2012 WL 3597209, at *3 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio 2012, pet. denied). Under Rule 611 of the
Texas Rules of Evidence, the trial court should exercise
reasonable control over the examination of witnesses and the
presentation of evidence to avoid wasting time. Tex. R. Evid.
prerequisite to presenting a complaint for appellate review,
the record must show that the complaint was made to the trial
court by a timely request, objection, or motion. Tex.R.App.P.
33.1(a)(1). In addition, error may not be predicated on a
ruling excluding evidence unless the party informs the trial
court of the substance of the evidence by an offer of proof.
Tex. R. Evid. 103(a)(2). When a trial court limits the amount
of time a party has to present its case, and thereby prevents
a party from presenting all of its evidence, the party must
object to the time limit and make an offer of proof of the
evidence it was prevented from presenting to preserve error
on appeal. In re Ludington, No. 01-16-00411-CV, 2017
WL 219162, at *4 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2017, orig.
proceeding); In the Interest of A.E.A., 406 S.W.3d
404, 420 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2013, no pet.).
the record shows that at the beginning of the trial, the
trial court stated: "I have told the lawyers in
keeping with the time announcement that was made
yesterday that I'm allotting you 30 minutes each to
put on your case." (emphasis added). Thus, the record
shows that the time limits placed on the presentation of
evidence were based on the parties' representations to
the trial court about the amount of time they needed to try
the case. Furthermore, the record does not show that Andrew
used all of the time allocated to him to put on his case.
Andrew testified on his own behalf at trial. When Andrew