Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
IN THE INTEREST OF N.V.R., D.A.R., AND J.T.R., CHILDREN
FROM THE 124TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT GREGG COUNTY, TEXAS
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
Runnels, acting pro se, appeals from the trial court's
order finding him in arrears on child support owed to
Domanita Craddock-Neal. He presents three issues on appeal.
a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR). In
2016, Craddock-Neal was granted the exclusive right to
determine the residency of three children, N.V.R., D.A.R.,
and J.T.R. The trial court also ordered Runnels to pay child
support of $179.20 per month beginning on December 1, 2016.
Runnels subsequently filed a motion to modify child support.
In February 2017, following a hearing, the trial court issued
a temporary order reducing the child support obligation to
$100 per month from February 2017 through May 2017.
Thereafter, the obligation would automatically increase to
$179.20 per month.
November 2017, Craddock-Neal filed a motion for enforcement
of child support and a motion for enforcement of possession.
The motions alleged that Runnels failed to pay child support
from December 2016 through November 2017 and that Runnels
interfered with Craddock-Neal's possession when he took
J.T.R. to the doctor and attempted to take all three children
to a dentist appointment. In April 2018, following a hearing,
the trial court found that Runnels failed to pay the ordered
child support from December 2016 through April 2018 and that
he violated the possession order. As a result, the trial
court found Runnels in contempt for both violations and
ordered him to serve 180 days in the county jail for each act
of contempt, to run concurrently. The court further found
that Runnels had the ability to pay the child support owed
and ordered that all arrearages and current child support
amounts be withheld from Runnels's earnings.
appealed the trial court's order. On July 25, 2018, we
determined that the trial court's contempt and commitment
rulings contained in the order are not appealable and
dismissed Runnels's appeal with respect to those
claims. However, we determined that any alleged
error in the trial court's arrearages ruling are
appealable and may be addressed by this Court.
first issue, Runnels complains that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction over the motion to modify, thereby rendering the
orders of contempt and arrears void.
of Review and Applicable Law
matter jurisdiction is a question of law and is reviewed de
novo. See, e.g., Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex.
Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 445 (Tex. 1993). It
"is an issue that may be raised for the first time on
appeal; it may not be waived by the parties."
Id. "A judgment rendered without subject-matter
jurisdiction is void and subject to collateral attack."
Engelman Irrigation Dist. v. Shields Bros., Inc.,
514 S.W.3d 746, 750 (Tex. 2017). But "[e]rrors that make
a judgment voidable are subject to waiver and must be
preserved pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure
33.1." In re M.L.G.J., No. 14-14-00800-CV, 2015
WL 1402652, at *3 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 24,
2015, no pet.) (mem. op.).
affecting the parent-child relationship are governed by Title
5 of the Texas Family Code. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§§ 101.001-266.013 (West 2014 & West Supp.
2018). Chapter 155's subchapter A, part of Title 5,
states in part: "Except as otherwise provided by this
section, a court acquires continuing, exclusive jurisdiction
over the matters provided for by this title in connection
with a child on the rendition of a final order."
Id. § 155.001(a) (West Supp. 2018). In that
event, "no other court of this state has jurisdiction of
a suit with regard to that child" except as provided by
Chapter 155 and other family code provisions not applicable
in this case. Id. § 155.001(c).
Standing is a component of subject matter jurisdiction, and
any judicial action by a court without jurisdiction is void.
In re H.G., 267 S.W.3d 120, 124 (Tex. App.-San
Antonio 2008, pet. denied). "'Without standing, a
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction' over the case,
and the merits of the plaintiff's claims thus cannot be
litigated or decided." In re H.S., 550 S.W.3d
151, 155 (Tex. 2018) (considering whether grandparent had
standing to file SAPCR seeking conservatorship of child).
"When standing has been conferred by statute, the
statute itself ...