Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
IN THE MATTER OF THE MARRIAGE OF CAROLYN RUTH THOMPSON AND CURTIS OLIVER THOMPSON, III
Submitted: April 10, 2019
Appeal from the County Court at Law Lamar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 82494
Morriss, C.J., Burgess and Stevens, JJ.
E. STEVENS JUSTICE
Ruth Thompson and Curtis Oliver Thompson, III, were divorced
in 2014. On March 9, 2017, Carolyn filed a motion for
clarification of the 2014 divorce decree. She appeals the
trial court's denial of her motion. Because we find that
we are without jurisdiction over this appeal, we dismiss it.
trial court signed an order denying Carolyn's motion on
August 21, 2017. Rule 26.1 of the Texas Rules of Appellate
Procedure provides that an appeal is perfected when notice of
appeal is filed within thirty days after the judgment is
signed, unless a timley post-judgment motion is filed.
Tex.R.App.P. 26.1(a). There was no timely appeal from the
August 21, 2017, order, and the trial court's plenary
power expired. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 329b.
appeal, Carolyn argues that she did not receive notice of the
August 21, 2017, order. Rule 306a(4) provides that, if a
party has not received notice of the trial court's
judgment or order "within twenty days after the judgment
or other appealable order is signed," a sworn motion
complying with Rule 306a(5) can be filed to extend appellate
deadlines, which "shall begin on the date that such
party or his attorney received such notice or acquired actual
knowledge of the signing, whichever occurred first, but
in no event shall such periods begin more than ninety days
after the original judgment or other appealable order was
signed." Tex.R.Civ.P. 306a(4), (5) (emphasis
added); see Estate of Howley By & Through Howley v.
Haberman, 878 S.W.2d 139, 140 (Tex. 1994).
appellate record does not contain the timely, sworn motion to
extend post-judgment deadlines required by Texas Rules of
Civil Procedure 306a, subsections (4) and (5). Even though
the trial court's plenary power expired ninety days from
the August 21, 2017, order, the trial court entered an
identical order denying Carolyn's motion for
clarification of the divorce decree on July 2, 2018. Carolyn
attempts to appeal from the July 2018 order.
that the August 21, 2017, order was a final order and that
the trial court did not have jurisdiction to enter the July
2, 2018, order because its plenary power had expired.
See Tex. R. Civ. P. 329b(f); see In re
Parker, 117 S.W.3d 484, 487 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2003,
orig. proceeding). Also, because notice of appeal was not
timely filed from the August 2017 order, "no complaint
shall be heard on appeal that could have been presented in an
appeal from the original judgment." See Tex. R.
Civ. P. 329b(h).
April 1, 2019, we notified the parties about this
jurisdictional defect and the prospect of involuntary
dismissal of the appeal if a satisfactory response was not
filed by April 16, 2019. See Tex. R. App. P.
42.3(a). Carolyn's response cites to authority stating
that a trial court retains continuing subject-matter
jurisdiction to enforce or clarify a divorce decree or amend
a qualified domestic relations order. See Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 9.002 (West Supp. 2018), §§ 9.008,
9.1045 (West 2006). The trial court did so in its August 2017
order, and no further requests for clarification were sought
by the parties. Because it entered the same order in 2018,
the order was not a clarification of either the divorce
decree or the 2017 order based on a motion by the parties
invoking the trial court's jurisdiction. For that reason,
allowing an appeal from that latter order would improperly
authorize Carolyn to circumvent the appellate timetables.
This cannot be permitted.
dismiss this appeal for want of jurisdiction. See Hunter
v. Hunter, No. 01-18-00057-CV, 2018 WL 1473796, at *2
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 27, 2018, no pet.) (per
curiam) (mem. op.); Matter of Marriage of Hahn, No.
13-16-00544-CV, 2016 WL 7242844, at *1 (Tex. App.-Corpus
Christi Dec. 15, 2016, no pet.) (per curiam) (mem. op.).
These sections "provide for
limited, post-judgment jurisdiction that may be invoked only
in particular circumstances, rather than for plenary,
original jurisdiction." DeGroot v. DeGroot, 260
S.W.3d 658, 662 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.) (citing
Gainous v. Gainous, 219 S.W.3d 97, 108 ...