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Wright v. Payne

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

November 14, 2019

Shatara Wright, Appellant
v.
Michael Stephen Payne, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 462nd District Court Denton County, Texas Trial Court No. 16-02115-211

          Before Sudderth, C.J.; Womack and Wallach, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Mike Wallach, Justice

         Appellant Shatara Wright attempts to appeal from the trial court's order granting the declaratory judgment request of Appellee Michael Stephen Payne, her estranged husband, and holding the couple's marital agreement and two property agreements unenforceable. Their divorce is still pending. We dismiss this appeal for want of jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND FACTS

         After Payne filed a petition for divorce from Wright, he amended his petition to add a declaratory judgment request, asking the trial court to declare the couple's marital agreement and two other property agreements void and unenforceable. The trial court bifurcated the trial, ordering that the declaratory judgment issue would be resolved before all remaining issues in the divorce:

         On the Court's own motion, IT IS ORDERED that the Final Trial of this case shall be BIFURCATED as follows:

1. IT IS ORDERED that only [Payne's] Request for Declaratory Judgment shall be heard by the Court at the Final Trial currently set in this matter for December 10, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.
2. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Final Trial of all other issues in this case is hereby CONTINUED until a later date.

[Emphasis added.] The trial court did not sever the declaratory judgment portion of the case from the rest of the divorce proceeding.

         After a hearing, the trial court signed its "ORDER GRANTING . . . PAYNE'S APPLICATION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT" (declaratory judgment). The declaratory judgment provides,

On December 12, 2018, this case was called for final trial on the Application for Declaratory Judgment as contained within [Payne's] Second Amended Petition for Divorce and Request for Declaratory Judgment . . . .
. . . .
Decla ra tory Judgment on Enforceability of Marita l Ag ...

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