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Moore v. Jordan

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

October 22, 2019

RANDY MOORE, Appellant
v.
SANDRA FAYE JORDAN, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 311th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2016-78225

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Keyes and Goodman.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Sherry Radack, Chief Justice

         Appellant, Randy Moore, contests the division of property contained in the final decree of divorce dissolving his marriage to Sandra Faye Jordan. In three issues on appeal, Moore contends the trial court abused its discretion by: (1) characterizing certain property as community property rather than as his separate property, (2) denying his motion for new trial, and (3) awarding a disproportionate share of the community estate to Jordan. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Moore and Jordan were married for over 10 years when Jordan filed for divorce. There were no children of the marriage. Jordan requested that she be awarded a disproportionate share of the community estate based upon Moore's fault in the breakup of the marriage. Moore filed a counterpetition, alleging that the marriage was insupportable and that Jordan had committed adultery.

         The trial court held a bench trial, at which both parties testified. Jordan was represented by counsel; Moore represented himself pro se.

         1. Grounds for the Divorce and Moore's Separate Property

         After hearing evidence from both parties, the trial court (1) granted the divorce based on insupportability and Moore's infidelity and cruel treatment toward Jordan, and (2) found that Jordan was entitled to a disproportionate share of the community property. The trial court also confirmed as Moore's separate property 100% of his retirement account earned prior to the date of the marriage and real property located at 2055 Nora Street, Beaumont, TX and 7605 Glass Street, Houston, TX.

         2. The Division of Community Property

         The trial court divided the community property as follows:

         Assets to Jordan: (1) personal effects in her possession, (2) cash in her possession or subject to her sole control, (3) a vehicle, (4) 100% of her retirement accounts, (5) 50% of Moore's retirement accounts accruing after the date of their marriage, and (6) 100% of the marital home located at 7825 and 7829 Pointer Street, Houston, TX.

         Debts to Jordan: (1) all debts incurred by her unless otherwise specified, (2) all credit card debt in her name solely, and (3) the mortgage and taxes associated with the marital residence located at 7825 and 7829 Pointer Street, Houston, TX.

         Assets to Moore: (1) personal effects in his possession, (2) cash in his possession or subject to his sole control, (3) five vehicles, (4) 50% of his retirement accounts accruing after the date of the marriage, (5) Lots 1 & 2 on Levander Street and a lot on Tampico Street.

         Debts to Moore: (1) all debts incurred by him unless otherwise specified, (2) all credit card debt in his name only, (3) the mortgage and taxes associated with lots 1 & 2 on Levander Street and the lot on Tampico Street.

         3. Motion for New Trial

         Dissatisfied with the judgment, Moore hired counsel to file a motion for new trial. His motion requested that the trial court "grant a new trial in the interest of justice and fairness" so that he could "relitigate the issue of the court's rendition and awarding Sandra Faye Jordan the properties located at 7829 Pointer Street and 7825 Pointer Street, Houston, Texas 77016." Moore attached an affidavit to his motion for new trial in which he claimed that the Pointer Street properties were his separate property because he entered into an earnest money contract for their purchase before the date of the marriage. His affidavit requested "that [the] Court grant me a new trial in the interest of justice, so that I may present the proper evidence to rebut any presumption that the property located at 7829 Pointer St. and 7825 Pointer St., Houston, Texas 77016 is community property[.]"

         The trial court held a hearing on the motion for new trial, at which both Moore and Jordan testified. Moore also introduced an earnest money contract for the Pointer Street properties, which he claimed showed ...


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