Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
IN THE INTEREST OF M.C. AND C.C., CHILDREN
Submitted: April 18, 2019
Appeal from the 307th District Court Gregg County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2013-1333-DR
Morriss, C.J., Burgess and Stevens, JJ.
E. STEVENS JUSTICE
and Father divorced in 2013 and were appointed joint managing
conservators of their three children, Karen, Maegan, and
Clint. In 2016, Mother petitioned the trial court
to modify the parent-child relationship by denying
Father's access to their children on the allegation of
family violence. In August 2018, the trial court found the
allegation of family violence true, but granted Father access
to Maegan and Clint on modified terms. On appeal, while
Father raises no complaint about the terms of his access to
Maegan, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion
in denying his request for a standard possession order as to
Clint. We find no abuse of discretion in the trial
court's order and affirm the judgment.
testified that Father lived in Midland, Texas, after the
divorce and hosted parties during their visits with him.
Karen informed the trial court that she, Maegan, and Clint
would walk into Father's home at almost every visit to
find beer cans on the coffee table, the trash can full of
empty beer cans and boxes, and strangers partying. Karen
testified that Father, who drank a lot of alcohol, had sex
with other women, "almost g[o]t into fights" with
others, and said "awful things" to her, Maegan, and
Clint during their visits.
explained that she had to assume the parental role when
visiting Father, that he did not have food in the house for
them, and that she would have to call Mother to have pizza
delivered. She recalled an occasion when she had "to
split a package of ramen between the three of" them.
Karen also stated Father inappropriately "grabbed [her]
by the waist and put his hands almost to [her] bottom"
while demanding that she kiss him despite her repeated
refusals. She next testified about the incident of violence
on July 8, 2016, that prompted Mother's petition to
modify the parent-child relationship.
testified that Father left her, Meagan, and Clint without
informing them of when he would return. Thirty minutes after
his absence, Karen texted Father and told him she was leaving
if he did not return in an hour. According to Karen, Father
returned twenty minutes later and called her "the
'B' word," which prompted Karen to walk to the
room she shared with Maegan and Clint to call Mother. Karen
testified that Father came into the room occupied by all the
children and strangled Maegan. She said,
[Father] just grabbed [Maegan] by the neck in, like, a
chokehold and he pulled her off the bed and holds her there
for a second. And I see [Maegan's] face get red and see
her banging on his arm telling him to let go and then I
notice her face getting red and she started to get really red
and I could tell that she was struggling. And then he drug
her across the hallway . . . dropped her inside of his
bedroom and then shut the door behind him.
she tried to intervene, Karen testified Father grabbed her
arm and asked if she "want[ed] to be next." Karen
pushed Father off her, called Mother again to report what
happened, packed, and drove away with Maegan and Clint to
their aunt's home. According to Mother, Clint saw the
choking incident and was "bawling and scared
shaking" when they arrived at their aunt's home.
Fifteen minutes later, the children "headed straight to
the police station" to report the incident. A photograph
of Maegan's red neck taken on that day was admitted into
evidence. Mother testified that it was in Clint's best
interests for any visits with Father to be supervised.
testified that, although he consumed alcohol, it did not
impair his judgment when he was around the children. He added
that he was "just playing around, wrestling" when
he grabbed Maegan, that it was possible that he had grabbed
her too tight, but could not otherwise explain the red marks
on Maegan's neck. Father acknowledged Karen's concern
about his "[d]rinking problem," and "[a]nger
problem," but did not believe he currently had those
problems. Father's fiancé testified that she had
been around Father and his children three or four times and
believed Father's relationship with them was good.
Father's fiancé testified she was at Father's
home when the alleged choking incident occurred and did not
witness Father assault Maegan.She testified that Karen and
Maegan wanted to leave, but that Clint wanted to stay.
Hunter, a licensed professional counselor at the Women's
Center of East Texas, testified that she counselled both
Karen and Maegan, who both exhibited signs of post-traumatic
stress disorder after the choking incident. That said, Hunter
testified that she also visited with Clint, who wanted to see
Father. Robert Neibert testified that he assisted the trial
court by supervising visits between Father and Clint and
characterized those visits positively.
informed the trial court that he worked fourteen days in a
row, followed by seven days off, and wished to see Clint
during those seven days. Father understood that Clint might
be uncomfortable with initial visits, and testified he was
agreeable to a "step up situation" comprised of
four-hour unsupervised visits on the Saturdays he was
available, followed by eight hours unsupervised on available
Saturdays in August and September 2018, and then overnight
Saturday visits in October through November. Father testified