Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF L.T. and K.T., Children
the 438th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016-PA-02227 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor,
Associate Judge Presiding
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Rebeca C.
Martinez, Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Opinion by: Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice
appeals the trial court's judgment terminating his
parental rights to L.T. and K.T. He argues (1) there is
insufficient evidence to support the trial court's
finding he did not admit or counterclaim for paternity after
being served or waiving service of process; and (2) the trial
court erred by exercising jurisdiction because another court
had continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the children. We
affirm the trial court's judgment.
Department of Family and Protective Services removed L.T.
(born in 2013) and K.T. (born in 2016) from their mother,
Jessica, after receiving numerous reports alleging she abused
drugs and had neglected the children. The Department's
affidavit in support of removal stated Kenneth was the
children's father he had been recently released from jail
in California, was a chronic drug abuser, and was
"reportedly not allowed to leave the state" of
Department filed an original petition for conservatorship of
the children and to terminate Kenneth's and Jessica's
parental rights. The trial court thereafter ordered Kenneth
to complete a family service plan prepared by the Department.
Kenneth wrote a letter to the trial court stating he resides
in California, Jessica illegally took the children from
California, and "[t]here was an open child custody case
. . . in California regarding [L.T.] and [K.T.]."
case proceeded to a bench trial, at which Department
caseworker Yesenia Sanchez testified. According to Sanchez,
Jessica was using methamphetamines and did not seek medical
treatment for K.T.'s renal failure. Sanchez stated
Kenneth told her "he wanted his kids back and he wanted
[her] to make that happen." Sanchez also stated Kenneth
had been incarcerated three times during the case for
assault, had no contact with the children during the case,
and failed to complete services on his family service plan.
Jessica told Sanchez "there was domestic violence, which
is why [Jessica] left California and was in Texas."
Sanchez stated the children were placed with Jessica's
brother, who was meeting the children's basic needs.
trial court signed a judgment terminating Jessica's and
Kenneth's parental rights. In addition to finding
termination is in the children's best interest, the trial
court found three grounds for terminating Kenneth's
parental rights: (1) constructive abandonment; (2) failure to
complete court-ordered provisions of his family service plan;
and (3) failure to admit or counterclaim for paternity after
being served or waiving service. Only Kenneth appealed.
of the Evidence
argues there is insufficient evidence to support the trial
court's finding that he did not admit or counterclaim for
paternity after being served or waiving service under Texas
Family Code section 161.002(b)(1). See Tex. Fam.
Code. Ann. § 161.002(b)(1) (West Supp. 2017). The
Department responds the trial court's judgment may be
affirmed based on its findings of grounds for termination
under section 161.001(b)(1), including constructive
abandonment and failure to complete his family service plan.
See id. § 161.001(b)(1)(N), (O).
as here, an appellant does not challenge all findings that
would independently support the trial court's judgment,
we must affirm the judgment. In re J.J.J., No.
04-17-00254-CV, 2017 WL 3044584, at *3 (Tex. App.-San Antonio
July 19, 2017, pet. denied). Even if insufficient evidence
supports the trial court's finding that Kenneth did not
admit or counterclaim for paternity after waiving service, we
cannot say the trial court erred because the unchallenged
findings independently support the judgment. See
id.; see also Tex. Fam. Code. Ann. §
161.001(b) (providing parental rights may be terminated if a
trial court makes a best-interest finding and a finding of at
least one of the grounds listed in that section). 
argues the trial court erred by exercising jurisdiction in
this case because another court had continuing, exclusive
jurisdiction. He notes the trial court found "a request
for identification of a court of continuing, exclusive
jurisdiction has been made as required by Section 155.101,
Texas Family Code" and "this Court has jurisdiction
of this case and of all the parties and that no other court
has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction of this case."
Kenneth complains there is "no evidence that ...