Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
Original Mandamus Proceeding 
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Luz Elena D.
Chapa, Justice Irene Rios, Justice.
Elena D. Chapa, Justice.
FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS CONDITIONALLY GRANTED
asserts the trial court abused its discretion by rendering an
Order of Enforcement By Contempt and Suspension of
Commitment. After reviewing relator's arguments, we
conclude her argument that the underlying judgment is not
specific enough to be enforced by contempt is dispositive.
Therefore, in this opinion, we do not address her remaining
arguments. See Tex. R. App. P. 47.1. We agree and
conditionally grant the petition for writ of mandamus.
December 11, 2014, the trial court signed an order granting
relator's petition to adopt three minor children. The
adoption order incorporated by reference the terms of an
attached Exhibit A, which set forth the terms of possession
and access to the children by their grandmother, Kimberlee.
2017, Kimberlee filed a Motion for Enforcement of Possession
or Access, in which she alleged relator "failed to
comply with the [adoption] order" by denying access on
thirty-one different dates. The trial court granted the
motion, finding relator "failed to comply with and has
violated the provisions of the [adoption] order" on six
of the alleged dates. The trial court assessed a $100 fine
for three of the alleged violations, assessed confinement in
jail for three of the violations for a period of 180 days for
each violation, and ordered payment of attorney's fees to
Kimberlee's attorney. The trial court suspended
commitment and placed relator on unsupervised community
supervision for ten years.
filed a petition for writ of mandamus, alleging several
complaints. One of relator's complaints is that the
adoption order and the incorporated-by-reference Exhibit A
are not specific enough to be enforced by contempt. It is
true the adoption order does not order relator to do or not
do anything. In fact, that order does nothing more than grant
the adoption, and does not mention Kimberlee. Exhibit A
contains the "Parenting Plan, " which names
Kimberlee a non-possessory grandparent with standing and sets
forth the terms of Kimberlee's possession of and access
to her grandchildren. The decretal paragraphs in Exhibit A
order only Kimberlee to do certain things if she wants access
to the children. The order does not contain any decretal
paragraphs ordering relator to do or not do anything.
OF MANDAMUS RELIEF
to obtain mandamus relief, a relator must show both that the
trial court has clearly abused its discretion and that
relator has no adequate appellate remedy. In re
Prudential Ins. Co., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004)
(orig. proceeding). A trial court clearly abuses its
discretion if it reaches a decision so arbitrary and
unreasonable as to amount to a clear and prejudicial error of
law or if it clearly fails to analyze the law correctly or
apply the law correctly to the facts. In re Cerberus
Capital Mgmt. L.P., 164 S.W.3d 379, 382 (Tex. 2005)
(orig. proceeding) (per curiam). Contempt orders that do not
involve confinement are not appealable by habeas corpus;
therefore, no adequate remedy by appeal exists. In re
Braden, 483 S.W.3d 659, 662 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th
Dist.] 2015, orig. proceeding) (per curiam). When, as here,
the contempt order does not involve confinement, the only
possible relief is a writ of mandamus. In re Long,
984 S.W.2d 623, 625 (Tex. 1999) (orig. proceeding) (per
curiam on rehearing). Because relator does not have an
adequate remedy by appeal, the only remaining question is
whether she has shown the contempt order is unenforceable.
be enforceable by contempt, a judgment must set out the terms
for compliance in clear and unambiguous terms." Ex
parte Brister, 801 S.W.2d 833, 834 (Tex. 1990) (orig.
proceeding); see also Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
157.421(a), (b) (West 2014) ("A court may clarify an
order rendered by the court in a proceeding under this title
if the court finds, on the motion of a party or on the
court's own motion, that the order is not specific enough
to be enforced by contempt. . . . The court shall clarify the
order by rendering an order that is specific enough to be
enforced by contempt."). "The judgment must also
clearly order the party to perform the required acts."
Brister, 801 S.W.2d at 834. The judgment must be
sufficiently specific such that the person charged with
obeying the judgment will readily know exactly what duties
and obligations are imposed. See Ex parte Chambers,
898 S.W.2d 257, 260 (Tex. 1995) (orig. proceeding). If the
court's judgment requires inferences or conclusions about
whether particular conduct is encompassed by the judgment and
concerning which reasonable persons might differ, the
judgment is insufficient to support a contempt order.
Id. And, if the judgment enforces the instructions
of a party, rather than the specific requirements of the
court, a contempt order enforcing the judgment must be set
aside. See Brister, 801 S.W.2d at 834-35.
facts of this case are similar to those in Brister
and In re Martin, 523 S.W.3d 165 (Tex. App.-Dallas
2017, orig. proceeding). In Brister, the trial court
found that the mother violated the divorce decree by failing
to deliver possession of the child to the father on two
occasions. The decree allowed the father possession "at
all times as the parties may mutually agree, and failing
mutual agreement, " on certain weekends. The decree also
allowed the father to modify the visitation schedule to
accommodate his work schedule. However, the only portion of
the decree ordering the mother to perform any action
regarding visitation stated she "shall surrender the
child to [father] at the beginning of each period of
possession at [a specific address]." The Supreme Court
held the contempt order should be set aside because it
"enforce[ed], not ...