Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 15th Judicial District Court Grayson County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. FA-16-0527
Justices Lang, Brown, and Whitehill
Mother filed a new trial motion thirty-seven days after the
trial judge signed a final divorce decree. Mother, however,
never filed a Rule 306a motion or otherwise proved the
matters set forth in Rule 306a(4). Nevertheless, the trial
judge granted Mother's new trial motion, held a new
trial, and signed a new final divorce decree.
appeals, arguing that the trial court lacked plenary power to
sign the second divorce decree. Mother has not filed an
agree with Father and accordingly vacate the second divorce
decree and dismiss this appeal.
Father filed a petition seeking a divorce from Mother. Mother
did not answer.
August 29, 2016, the trial court held a bench trial at which
Father and a representative of the Texas Attorney General
appeared. That same day, the trial court signed a final
divorce decree. The decree made both parents joint managing
conservators and gave Father the exclusive right to designate
B.E.T.'s primary residence.
clerk's record contains a "notice of court
order" by the district clerk. The notice says that a
final divorce decree was signed on August 29, 2016. The
notice also says that it was mailed on September 6, 2016 to
Mother at a specific street address and apartment number.
September 23, 2016, Mother filed a pro se "notice of
appeal." The notice is a form document that Mother
completed by hand. It recites that Mother intends "to
appeal the decision of the Office of the Attorney General
rendered on August 29, 2016. . . . This appeal is taken to
the District Court in ___County, Texas." Mother wrote her
address on the notice of appeal. That address is slightly
different from the one recited on the September 6, 2016
notice of court order. Specifically, Mother gave her street
address number as "406, " while the notice of court
order said that Mother's street address number was
"409." The street name and apartment number were
the same on the court clerk's notice and Mother's
notice of appeal.
October 5, 2016, Mother-now acting through counsel-filed a
new trial motion. The motion erroneously says that the final
divorce decree was signed on September 6, 2016.
responded to the new trial motion, arguing that it was filed
November 2016, the trial court heard and orally granted
Mother's new trial motion. The judge also made a
handwritten docket entry noting that the new trial motion had
been granted. The record, however, ...