Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
IN THE INTEREST OF K.B. AND J.B.
Submitted on October 15, 2019
Appeal from the 258th District Court Polk County, Texas Trial
Cause No. CIV31460
McKeithen, C.J., Horton and Johnson, JJ.
Mother appeals the trial court's entry of an Agreed Final
Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship
("SAPCR") regarding her minor children K.B. and
As explained below, we conclude that the order from which the
appellant appeals is void and must be vacated, and we dismiss
December 5, 2017, the Department of Family and Protective
Services ("Department") filed an Original Petition
for Protection of a Child, for Conservatorship, and for
Termination in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship
and Order Setting Hearing. Following a hearing, on December
12, 2017, the trial court entered a temporary order
appointing the Department as temporary managing conservator
for the children. On November 27, 2018, the court entered an
Agreed Order for Monitored Return of the Children to
[Mother], ordering a transition plan for monitored return of
the children to Mother and that the Department would continue
to serve as temporary managing conservator of the children.
The order for monitored return included the following
Pursuant to § 263.403(b), Texas Family Code, this suit
shall be dismissed on ____, which date is not later than 180
days following the date this temporary order is rendered,
unless the child must be removed from said home prior to that
children were then returned to the Mother on a monitored
basis on November 27, 2018. Before the children were returned
to the Mother the Department had placed the children with
foster parents. On February 4, 2019, over two months after
the children were returned to the Mother, the foster parents
("Intervenors") filed an intervention in the SAPCR.
The Intervenors sought to be appointed the children's
managing conservator, or in the alternative, possessory
April 26, 2019, the trial court held a permanency hearing,
and the matter was set for trial on June 10, 2019. At the
permanency hearing, the Department told the court that the
monitored return had been successful, and the Department was
ready to dismiss. The caseworker, the court-appointed special
advocate, and Mother agreed to dismissal of the action. The
clerk's record includes a letter to the parties'
attorneys from the trial judge stating that the case had been
transferred to his court from another judge and the trial
judge believed "the dismissal date for this suit is June
12, 2019." The trial court held a hearing on the
petition to intervene on May 10, 2019. The trial court
granted the petition to intervene over the objections from
trial court held a "Settlement Agreement" hearing
on June 7, 2019. The Department told the court the settlement
"is agreeable with the Department with the note that the
Department is going to be dismissed and not named any type of
conservator." Counsel for the Intervenors told the court
that they had reached an agreement with Mother to be
appointed managing conservator and intervenors as possessory
but that there was no agreement as to which weekend the
Intervenors would have the children, and the Intervenors'
attorney stated "[r]ight now, we just agree it's the
first weekend unless otherwise agreed." The trial court
stated that the Department was "getting out of it."
Counsel for the Intervenors agreed to draft an order for the
court by the following Monday. The court stated on the record
that the agreement "needs to be signed off on by the
parties and the counsel."
any written agreement was signed or filed with the trial
court, on June 12, 2019, Mother filed an affidavit with the
court indicating she could not agree with the Intervenors and
stating in relevant part:
A hearing was held on Friday June 7, 2019 at which time I
agreed before the Court to a step-up visitation schedule with
Their attorney  was to prepare an Order for signing on
Monday, June 10, 2019, for my review and agreement.
I appeared in Court on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. and
[counsel for the Intervenors] did not have an Order for my
review at that time. [The Intervenors] were not present as
well as the CPS workers, their supervisors, Assistant
District Attorney, [counsel for the Department], nor any ...