Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Temporary custody orders in SAPCR case not immediately appealable

First Court of Appeals reiterates rule that temporary orders in SAPCR (child custody aka conservatorship in Texas legal lingo) cases cannot be challenged by interlocutory appeal -- unlike temporary injunctions in other civil cases. Because such appeal is not authorized, dismissal for lack of appellate jurisdiction is inevitable.


This is an attempted appeal from “Temporary Orders rendered on April 6, 2010, May 5, 2010 and May 20, 2010” by the trial court.  Because we lack jurisdiction, we dismiss the appeal.
Generally, appeals may be taken only from final judgments.  Lehmann v. Har-Con Corp., 39 S.W.3d 191, 195 (Tex. 2001).  We have jurisdiction to hear an interlocutory appeal only if authorized by statute.  See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.014 (West 2008); Stary v. DeBord, 967 S.W.2d 352, 352–53 (Tex. 1998).
The Texas Family Code permits a party to appeal “a final order” in a suits affecting the parent-child relationship.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 109.002(b), 263.405(a) (West Supp. 2011).  Temporary orders rendered in such suits are not subject to interlocutory appeal.  See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 105.001(e) (West 2008);  In re N.J.G., 980 S.W.2d 764, 767 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1998, no pet.).  An order is interlocutory if it leaves open the issue of permanent conservatorship.  In re N.J.G., 980 S.W.2d at 767.
The trial court’s orders appointed the Department of Family and Protective Services to serve as temporary managing conservator of the minor child at issue.  Because these orders leave open the question of permanent conservatorship, they are interlocutory.  See id.
Appellant cites no authority, and we have found none, providing for an interlocutory appeal to be taken from these orders.  Cf. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.014(a).
On February 22, 2012, the Court notified the parties of its intent to dismiss the appeal unless appellant filed a response demonstrating this court’s jurisdiction.  See Tex. R. App. P. 42.3(a).  Appellant did not respond.
Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction.  See Tex. R. App. P. 42.3(a), 43.2(f).  We dismiss any other pending motions as moot. 

Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Higley and Brown.

SOURCE: FIRST COURT OF APPEALS NO  01-10-00513-CV (4/12/12)

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