Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
IN THE INTEREST OF M.S. AND M.D.S., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 301st Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-18-01157
Justices Schenck, Osborne, and Reichek
J. SCHENCK JUSTICE.
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.
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.
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. 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."
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
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
Due Process Concerns
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, §
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