Court of Appeals of Texas, Eighth District, El Paso
from the 383rd District Court of El Paso County, Texas (TC#
Alley, C.J., Rodriguez, and Palafox, JJ.
M. PALAFOX, JUSTICE
an appeal from an agreed Order Enforcing Child Support and
Medical Support Obligation (Enforcement Order). Appellant
Andrew McRae (Father), appearing pro se, contends
that the Enforcement Order is void because he agreed to it
under duress. We affirm.
2016, a court ordered Father to pay monthly child support and
medical support for A.J.P. yet Father admittedly failed to
fulfill these obligations. The Office of the Attorney General
of Texas (Attorney General) filed a motion to enforce the
support orders, alleging that Father was in arrears and that
it was anticipated that he would continue to violate the
matter came before an associate judge, who signed a proposed
order which was later approved and adopted as the Enforcement
Order of the district court. That order recites that a
hearing was conducted on November 2, 2017; Mother appeared in
person; Father appeared in person and through his
court-appointed attorney; and the parties waived a record of
the proceedings, with the consent of the court. The order
contains the signatures of both Mother and Father, and the
parties characterize it as an agreed order.
addition to imposing child support and medical support
payment obligations, the Enforcement Order recites that
Father is found in contempt and ordered to be incarcerated
for a period of 120 days. The Enforcement Order further
recites, though, that the incarceration provision is
suspended, and that Father is placed on probation for a
period of 120 months. Father appeals.
single issue, Father asserts that the Enforcement Order is
void because he agreed to it under duress.
court's order of child support will not be disturbed on
appeal unless the complaining party can show a clear abuse of
discretion." Worford v. Stamper, 801 S.W.2d
108, 109 (Tex. 1990). A trial court abuses its discretion if
its decision is arbitrary and unreasonable, or if it is made
without regard for guiding legal principles or supporting
evidence. In re Nationwide Ins. Co., 494 S.W.3d 708,
712 (Tex. 2016). A trial court also abuses its discretion if
it fails to analyze or apply the law correctly. Id.
duress occurs where any coercion, whether mental, physical,
or otherwise, is exercised which causes another person to act
contrary to his or her own free will or to submit to a
situation or a condition against his or her own volition or
interest. Doe v. Catholic Diocese of El Paso, 362
S.W.3d 707, 719 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2011, no pet.). The
question of what conduct or occurrence constitutes duress is
a matter of law. Id. Whether duress exists in a
particular situation, however, is generally a question of
fact, which depends on all the circumstances and the mental
effect on the party claiming duress. Id. at 719-20.