Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
IN RE THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Relator
Appeal from the 254th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 10-21096
Justices Whitehill, Partida-Kipness, and Pedersen, III
the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), seeks mandamus
relief from the trial court's order directing the OAG to
provide Father's attorney with Mother's last known
address. The OAG argues that the trial court abused its
discretion because the Texas Family Code prohibits that
disclosure and there is no adequate appellate remedy. The OAG
further argues that the trial court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction because the order constitutes an unlawful
mandatory injunction against a constitutionally designated
conclude the trial court abused its discretion because the
Family Code prohibits releasing confidential information
about a custodial parent under the circumstances present here
and the OAG is entitled to mandamus relief. We further
conclude that the trial court's order was not an
injunction prohibited by the Government Code. As a result, we
conditionally grant the writ.
underlying case involves a suit affecting the parent-child
relationship. In 2010, Mother and Father were appointed joint
managing conservators and Mother was awarded the exclusive
right to determine the child's residence.
2011, Mother moved to modify the order and alleged that
Father committed "aggressive behavior" and
"assault with a deadly weapon" against her brother.
Among other things, Mother asked to be appointed sole
managing conservator and that the court "not . . .
disclose the social security number and driver's license
numbers, current address, and telephone numbers in the Final
Order because providing that information [was] likely to
cause the child or conservator harassment, abuse, serious
harm, or injury." Father did not appear at the hearing
on Mother's motion.
trial court subsequently appointed Mother the child's
sole managing conservator and suspended Father's access
"based on the history of family violence." As to
Mother's request to not disclose certain information, the
trial court's order stated that the information was
contained in a prior court order.
April 30, 2019, Father moved to modify the foregoing order
and asked that he be appointed sole managing conservator
because Mother was deceased. The associate judge held a
temporary orders hearing, abated Father's child support,
and ordered the OAG to provide Mother's last known
address to Father's attorney.
appealed the associate judge's ruling to the district
court, which conducted a hearing. At the hearing,
Father's attorney told the court that Mother was
deceased, and Father wanted custody of the child. The
attorney said that Father's last contact with the child
was in the summer of 2019, which contact he had by agreement
with Mother. After he learned of her death, Father went to
the address where he had last seen the child, but there was
no one there. Father did not know the child's location or
the name of the person caring for the child and asked the
trial court to order the OAG to provide that information to
hearing arguments, the trial court orally ordered the OAG to
provide Mother's last known address to Father's
attorney within a week.
then filed this original proceeding and requested a temporary
stay of the order to release confidential information. By
order dated June 25, 2019, we granted the stay pending
resolution of this matter and asked Father to file a
response. To date, Father has not done so.