Georganna L. Simpson and Beth M. Johnson 2017-12-20 21:07:18
Three cases clarified a party’s eligibility for spousal maintenance: • receipt of Social Security disability payments is not determinative;1 • a professional degree does not disqualify a person from receiving spousal maintenance if the party can establish an inability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs; and2 • proof of a disability alone is insufficient without evidence that the disability prevents the party from obtaining gainful employment.3 The minimum-sum-balance rule is only applicable to fungible assets.4 In Stegall, the court rejected the husband’s argument that the minimum-sum-balance rule supported his claim that the cows he bought, sold, and traded throughout his life were separate property. A petitioner cannot rely on post-filing events to establish standing.5 In J.A.T., the court rejected a third-party’s assertion that she had standing to seek conservatorship based on her actual possession of the child pursuant to temporary orders. The Texas Family Code explicitly defines “sperm donor.”6 In In re P.S., a woman impregnated herself with sperm of a friend who agreed to be a donor but later changed his mind. Under the statute’s plain language, without providing the sperm to a “licensed physician,” the friend could not be a “sperm donor.” Obergefell is not applicable to parentage suits.7 In In re A.E., the court declined to extend Obergefell to a woman’s request for adjudication that she was the parent of her wife’s child. Declining to follow the 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso’s precedent, the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth following its sister courts—5th Court of Appeals in Dallas and 1st Court of Appeals in Houston—held that a mother could seek a modification during the pendency of the appeal of the prior child-custody order.8 Sixty-five years after Carle v. Carle, the Texas Supreme Court addressed the acceptance-of-benefits doctrine’s applicability to divorce decree appeals.9 The fact-specific doctrine is based in equity. The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas held that a memorandum ruling was a “final” order despite lacking the requirements of Texas Family Code § 105.006 and any specificity as to the rights and duties of the conservators or possession of, access to, and support for the children.10 The court “conclude[d] the memorandum substantially complie[d] with the requisites of a formal judgment to be accorded final judgment status triggering the appellate deadline. Although it does not contain the items listed in Texas Family Code § 105.006, those items are clerical in nature, not substantive items that would preclude the memorandum from being a final judgment.” Notes 1) Wiedenfeld v. Markgraf, No. 04-16-00172-CV, 2017 WL 685762 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.). 2) Alfayoumi v. Alzoubi, No. 13-15-00094-CV, 2017 WL 929482 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.). 3) Roberts v. Roberts, S.W.3d , No. 04-16-00170-CV, 2017 WL 1902591 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2017, no pet. h.). 4) In re Marriage of Stegall,519 S.W.3d 668 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2017, no pet.) 5) In re J.A.T., 502 S.W.3d 834 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2016, no pet.). 6) In re P.S., 505 S.W.3d 106 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2016, no pet.). 7) In re A.E., No. 09-16-00019-CV, 2017 WL 1535101 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2017, pet. filed on July 12, 2017) (mem. op.). 8) In re Reardon, 514 S.W.3d 919 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2017, orig. proceeding); see also Hudson v. Markum, 931 S.W.2d 336 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1996, no writ); Blank v. Nuszen, No. 01-13-01061-CV, 2015 WL 4747022 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 11, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.). 9) Kramer v. Kastleman, 508 S.W.3d 211 (Tex. 2017). 10) In re B.D., No. 05-17-00674-CV, 2017 WL 3765848 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.). GEORGANNA L. SIMPSON is a solo practitioner in Dallas whose practice focuses on family law appellate matters. BETH M. JOHNSON is a solo practitioner in Dallas and is of counsel to Simpson’s firm.
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