Case of the Month
In the Interest of D.S.H.
2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 7889 (Tex. App. – Beaumont September 27, 2018) (mem. op.. on rehearing en bance)(Cause No. 09-17-00426-CV)
Facts: Father and Mother divorced in 2009, and Father was given right to designate 9 year-old child’s residence. Mother filed a modification in 2013 requesting she be given that right. The Court granted a temporary order granting mother the right to designate residence, as well as one that made Father pay temporary support. Father did not challenge this. However, the trial court was unaware the child was receiving benefits from Father’s disability checks. During jury trial in 2015, evidence was put on that alerted the trial court to the fact that the child was receiving support from Father’s disability, but the Court did not give Father any credit for child support based on this fact. Father appealed and the COA reversed and remanded the order that failed to give Father credit. However, the COA did not specify how far back credit was due. The trial court gave credit to February 2016, when it rendered judgment in modification. Father appealed again.
Opinion: The trial court acted correctly in modifying Father’s child support obligation only as to the prospective amounts due and owing from the date of rendition of its final order. Tex. Fam. Code 156.401(b) precludes retroactive modifications of support, and “prohibits trial courts from modifying temporary support orders to a date that predates the date the parent opposing a support award notifies the other parties to the suit that they are challenging the amount of a temporary award.”