Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re M.S.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

July 8, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF M.S. AND M.D.S., CHILDREN

          On Appeal from the 301st Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-18-01157

          Before Justices Schenck, Osborne, and Reichek

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DAVID J. SCHENCK JUSTICE.

         Michael Bolton appeals a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) withdrawing money from Bolton's employee retirement account to pay toward his child support arrearage. In four issues, Bolton contends (1) the issuance of the QDRO constitutes a taking without due process; (2) the QDRO is not an "enforcement" order; (3) the Office of the Attorney General failed to file a writ; and (4) the Office of the Attorney General is collaterally estopped from requesting the issuance of a QDRO. For the reasons stated below, we decide against Bolton on all four issues. We affirm the judgment against Bolton.

         Background

         The subject of this appeal is a QDRO to collect a child-support arrearage. The parties agree that Bolton is in arrears on his child support payments; however, they disagree as to what methods are permissible for collecting payment.

         Bolton is the father of two children. In April 1993, the trial court held a hearing on the parent-child relationship. On May 11, 1993, the court signed an order requiring Bolton pay $305 per month in child support. Bolton did not comply with the required payments. On July 16, 2013, after another hearing, the trial court issued a final order confirming that Bolton owed $40, 268.38 in child support arrearages.[1] The July 2013 order required Bolton to make monthly payments of $300 toward this arrearage. Included in the order was the statement "nothing herein shall prohibit the use of other collection methods authorized by law. The Court's order setting out payments on a child support judgment does not preclude or limit the use of any other means for enforcement of the judgment."

         As of January 2, 2018, Bolton owed $25, 980.64 in child support arrearages. On January 17, 2018, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed a Motion for Qualified Domestic Relations Order on behalf of Mother. Bolton was served with citation on the motion and filed an answer. A hearing was held on April 26, 2018. At the hearing, both parties presented argument. After the hearing, the trial court issued a QDRO withdrawing $5, 500 from Bolton's PepsiCo Savings plan to pay toward Bolton's child support arrears. Bolton timely filed this appeal.

         Standard of Review

         We ordinarily review the trial court's ruling on a post-divorce motion for enforcement or clarification of a divorce decree under an abuse-of-discretion standard. Hollingsworth v. Hollingsworth, 274 S.W.3d 811, 815 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.); see also Beshears v. Beshears, 423 S.W.3d 493, 500 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2014) (a QDRO is a post-divorce enforcement order). A court abuses its discretion when it acts unreasonably, arbitrarily, or without reference to guiding rules and principles. See Worford v. Stamper, 801 S.W.2d 108, 109 (Tex. 1990); Beshears v. Beshears, 423 S.W.3d 493, 499 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2014, no pet.). A trial court does not abuse its discretion when there is some evidence of a substantive and probative character to support its decision. In re A.E.R., No. 05-15-00019-CV, 2016 WL 4205683, at *1 (Tex. App.-Dallas Aug. 9, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.). However, where the facts are undisputed, leaving only issues for review that are questions of law, we will review de novo. See Gulf Ins. Co. v. Burns Motors, Inc., 22 S.W.3d 417, 423 (Tex. 2000).

         Discussion

         A. Due Process Concerns

         In his first issue, Bolton argues the issuance of the QDRO constitutes a taking without due process. The Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution ensures a party is provided notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to a taking of property. See Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 377 (1971); U.S. Const. amends. V, XIV, § 1. The record reflects that Bolton was served with citation, filed an answer, and that he presented arguments and cross-examined witnesses at a hearing on the motion. Because of this, we conclude that standard due-process requirements were met in this case. Id. We overrule Bolton's first issue.

         B. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.