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In re H.L.B.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

January 9, 2020

IN THE INTEREST OF H.L.B. AND B.L.B., CHILDREN

          On Appeal from the 469th Judicial District Court Collin County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 469-51414-2015

          Before Justices Pedersen, III, Reichek, and Carlyle

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CORY L. CARLYLE, JUSTICE.

         Father appeals from the trial court's order granting Mother's plea to the jurisdiction and dismissing his petition to modify terms of their agreed final divorce decree governing school choice as well as his obligation to pay for the children's private-school tuition. The trial court determined it lacked jurisdiction to modify the decree because the terms in question were contractual in nature and dismissed the petition. We reverse the trial court's jurisdictional ruling and remand the case for further proceedings. Because the issues are settled in law, we issue this memorandum opinion. See Tex. R. App. P. 47.4.

         Background

         Mother and Father divorced in 2015 and have two children, H.L.B. and B.L.B. Their agreed final divorce decree contains the following two provisions in a subsection titled "Other Parenting Plan Provisions"[1]:

2. Choice of Schools -
The Court finds that [H.L.B.] is currently enrolled at [a particular private school]. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND DECREED that [H.L.B.] shall continue attending [the private school] for the calendar year 2015-2016 and for all subsequent years thereafter, as agreed to by the parties.
IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED that [B.L.B.] shall attend [the same private school], if accepted, for the calendar year 2016-2017 and for all subsequent years thereafter, as agreed to by the parties. In the event [B.L.B.] is not accepted at [the private school], IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED that [B.L.B.] shall attend [a particular public school] for the calendar year 2016-2017 and for all subsequent years thereafter as agreed to by the parties.
No changes in enrollment or participation shall be made without the consent of both parents.
* * *
5. Educational Expenses
[Father] shall pay 100% of the cost of the private school tuition at [the particular private school].
All other school expenses incurred on behalf of either child, including uniforms, class trips, activity fees, sports, book fees, and fees for AP classes at [the private school] or at a public school, shall be paid equally by the parties. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that [Mother] shall pay 50 percent and [Father] shall ...

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