Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
IN THE INTEREST OF C.G.B. AND H.F.B., CHILDREN
Submitted: October 21, 2019
Appeal from the 115th District Court Upshur County, Texas
Trial Court No. 185-18
Morriss, C.J., Burgess and Stevens, JJ.
R. Morriss, III Chief Justice
case, the trial court found that C.G.B.'s and
H.F.B.'s biological maternal grandmother and
great-grandmother (the Biological Grandmothers) lacked
standing either to intervene in or to bring suit to modify an
Adoptive Mother's conservatorship of the children after
their Biological Mother's parental rights had previously
been terminated. On appeal, the Biological Grandmothers do
not expressly argue that the trial court's ruling on
standing was erroneous. Instead, they argue that the trial
court erred in refusing to hear evidence in support of their
claims to have standing. Because we find the Biological
Grandmothers' complaints meritless and unpreserved, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.
factual background of this case explains the reason for
Adoptive Mother's plea to the jurisdiction. C.G.B. and
H.F.B. were adopted after Biological Mother's and
Father's parental rights to the children were terminated.
The Adoptive Father sexually abused the children, his
parental rights were terminated, and Adoptive Mother obtained
sole managing conservatorship of C.G.B. and H.F.B. in her
divorce from Adoptive Father. Alleging that Adoptive Mother had
engaged in the practice of "rehoming" the children,
the biological maternal great-grandmother filed a
counter-petition to modify the parent-child relationship
established in the divorce decree between Adoptive Mother and
Adoptive Father. The biological maternal grandmother
intervened. Adoptive Mother filed her plea to the
jurisdiction challenging the Biological Grandmothers'
record shows that the trial court conducted a hearing on
Adoptive Mother's plea to the jurisdiction to determine
whether the Biological Grandmothers had standing to both
bring suit and intervene in a suit to modify Adoptive
Mother's conservatorship of the children awarded in the
divorce decree. At this hearing, Adoptive Mother argued that
the Biological Grandmothers lacked standing pursuant to
Section 102.006 of the Texas Family Code, which states, in
relevant part, "[I]f the parent-child relationship
between the child and every living parent has been
terminated, an original suit may not be filed by: . . . a
family member or relative by blood . . . of . . . a former
parent whose parent-child relationship has been
terminated." Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 102.006(a)(3).
Adoptive Mother had provided the trial court with a brief
asserting that "Section 102.006 . . . bars certain
parties from filing suit who would otherwise have standing to
file the suit." In re C.M.C., 192 S.W.3d 866,
873 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2006, no pet.); see In re
R.B., No. 02-16-00387-CV, 2016 WL 6803200, at *3 (Tex.
App.-Fort Worth Nov. 17, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)
("Section 102.006, on the other hand, expressly limits
the standing of certain parties who would otherwise have
standing to file suit under another provision of the family
code.") (citing L.H. v. Tex. Dep't of Family
& Protective Servs., No. 03-13-00348-CV, 2014 WL
902555, at *2 (Tex. App.-Austin Mar. 6, 2014, no pet.) (mem.
op.) ("Consistent with our sister court's analysis
of section 102.006, we conclude that it . . . expressly does
not confer standing but limits the standing of persons who
would otherwise have standing."); In re J.C.,
399 S.W.3d 235, 239 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2012, no pet.)).
After hearing Adoptive Mother's argument and reviewing
her brief, the trial court ruled that Biological Grandmothers
lacked standing. The appellate brief does not challenge the
trial court's application of Section 102.006 or otherwise
argue that the ruling was erroneous.
the Biological Grandmothers argue that the trial court erred
in refusing to hear the Biological Grandmothers' evidence
of standing to bring suit. We disagree. First, nothing in
the record establishes that the trial court disallowed
evidence of standing to be presented at the hearing. Thus,
the Biological Grandmothers' characterization of the
hearing as nonevidentiary only is meritless.
we find that error in the exclusion of evidence is
unpreserved. At the hearing, Adoptive Mother's counsel
repeatedly objected to the Biological Grandmothers'
discussion of the case on the merits, but the record shows
that the trial court did not expressly rule on those
objections. However, when the Biological Grandmothers sought
to question Adoptive Mother "regarding what's
happened since the date of the divorce decree and before her
filing this motion to modify," the court said,
"I'm going to have to make a ruling on standing
before we do anything else." After asking the Biological
Grandmothers to submit a brief on the issue of standing, the
trial court concluded the hearing.
rules of error preservation apply to hearings on pleas to the
jurisdiction. Phillips v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal
Justice, 366 S.W.3d 312, 316-17 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2012,
no pet.). To preserve a complaint for our review, a party
must first present to the trial court a timely request,
objection, or motion stating the specific grounds for the
desired ruling if not apparent from the context. Tex.R.App.P.
33.1(a)(1). Further, the trial court must have ruled on the
request, objection, or motion, either expressly or
implicitly, or the complaining party must have objected to
the trial court's refusal to rule. Tex.R.App.P.
33.1(a)(2). "A party may claim error in a ruling to . .
. exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial
right of the party and . . . if . . . a party informs the
court of its substance by an offer of proof, unless the
substance was apparent from the context." Tex. R. Evid.
there was no proffer or suggestion of how the evidence the
Biological Grandmothers sought to elicit would assist in
deciding the issue of standing. Instead, it appeared that the
Biological Grandmothers wished to improperly discuss the
merits of their "rehoming" allegations. Their
appellate brief, which cites no evidence bearing on the issue
of standing, also fails to show how any discussion of the
merits would aid the trial court's decision on the issue
of standing, especially in light of the Biological
Grandmothers' uncontested relationship as blood relatives
of a former parent whose parental rights were
terminated. We find the Biological Grandmothers'
argument that the trial court erred in excluding evidence
affirm the trial court's judgment.