Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 198th Judicial District Court, Kerr County, Texas Trial
Court No. 17810B Honorable M. Rex Emerson, Judge Presiding
Sitting: Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice, Beth Watkins, Justice,
Liza A. Rodriguez, Justice.
A. Rodriguez, Justice.
IN PART; AFFIRMED IN PART
Torres-Kapitzky Young appeals a decree of annulment asserting
the trial court abused its discretion by: (1) failing to
provide her reasonable notice of the trial setting; (2)
failing to grant her a continuance; (3) failing to provide
her with an interpreter; and (4) dividing the parties'
who is a Brazilian national, and Jacob Kyle Young were
married in California on June 13, 2017. Three months after
Florenca and Jacob married, they arrived in Texas where they
planned to live. On September 11, 2017, Jacob asked Florenca
for an annulment based on some information he discovered
about her, and Florenca returned to California.
September 22, 2017, Jacob filed a petition to annul the
marriage. On January 30, 2018, the trial court held a hearing
on Florenca's motion to dismiss, and Jacob's motion
to abate. Florenca's Texas attorney was present at the
hearing, and Florenca was present by telephone at the office
of her California attorney. Evidence was presented that
Florenca's California attorney had filed a petition in
California seeking a legal separation; however, questions
were raised regarding Florenca's residency status, and
Jacob had not been served in that lawsuit. At the conclusion
of the hearing, the trial court granted the motion to abate
the cause until March 1, 2018 because Jacob had not met the
residency requirements for filing the petition.
April 5, 2018, the trial court signed an order referring the
cause to mediation. The mediator's report stated the
mediation was cancelled because Florenca failed to appear.
The report further stated Florenca's Texas attorney tried
to contact Florenca's California attorney; however, she
did not receive any response.
4, 2018, Florenca's Texas attorney filed a motion to
withdraw stating she was unable to effectively communicate
with Florenca in a manner consistent with good
attorney-client relations. The trial court signed an order
granting the motion on June 27, 2018.
28, 2018, the trial court signed an order setting a bench
trial for August 9, 2018, to consider the annulment. The
order stated notice of the setting was sent to Florenca at
her last known address; however, the clerk's record shows
that notice was returned to sender.
August 9, 2018, Florenca appeared at trial and acknowledged
her understanding that she was before the court for a final
hearing. After Jacob's attorney questioned him, Florenca
was given the opportunity to question Jacob; however, she
elected not to question him. Jacob's attorney then called
Florenca as a witness. In response to the second question
asked by Jacob's attorney, Florenca requested an
interpreter. The trial court denied the request stating she
was required to make the request before trial and further
stated, "I have watched you throughout the testimony of
Mr. Young, and you understood every single question and you
responded to every single answer."
Jacob's attorney finished questioning Florenca, the trial
court gave Florenca the opportunity to "tell [her] side
of the story within the Rules of Evidence." Florenca
then proceeded to narrate her version of the relationship.
After completing her testimony, Florenca asked the trial
court if she could provide him with documents she referred to
as "proofs." The trial court instructed her she
needed to introduce them in accordance with the Rules of
Evidence. At that time, Florenca asked, "Should I get
days to get a lawyer since my first lawyer gave up on the
case?" The trial court responded the matter was set for
a final hearing and denied her request for additional time to
find an attorney.
attorney recalled Jacob as a witness to refute certain
statements made by Florenca during her testimony after which
Florenca asked Jacob a few questions on cross-examination.
Florenca then sought to introduce documents into evidence a
second time and was again told she needed to comply with the
rules for admitting evidence. In response to her statement
that English was not first language, the trial court stated,
"your English is extremely good. I would compliment you
on your English language that you have learned. You can
communicate very well. … I ...