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Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.).


NO. 01-17-00286-CV

Decided: May 25, 2017

Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Keyes and Massengale.


Appellant, D.L.M., through appointed counsel, attempts to appeal from the trial court's final decree of termination, purported to be signed on November 8, 2016, in the underlying suit affecting the parent-child relationship (“SAPCR”). We dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Generally, this Court has jurisdiction over appeals only from “final orders” rendered under Title 5 of the Texas Family Code, unless a statute authorizes an interlocutory appeal. See TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 109.002(b) (West 2011) (“An appeal may be taken by any party to a suit from a final order rendered under this title.”); see, e.g., Brejon v. Johnson, 314 S.W.3d 26, 33 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2009, no pet.).

In a SAPCR, the trial “court may make a temporary order, including the modification of a prior temporary order, for the safety and welfare of the child, including an order: (1) for the temporary conservatorship of the child;” but any such “[t]emporary orders rendered under this section are not subject to interlocutory appeal.” TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 105.001(a)(1), (e) (West 2003); see also In re Derzapf, 219 S.W.3d 327, 335 (Tex. 2007) (noting that mandamus was an appropriate remedy in SAPCR because “trial court's issuance of temporary orders [was] not subject to interlocutory appeal”) (citations omitted).

Here, after reviewing the clerk's record filed in this Court, there are no final decrees or appealable orders signed by the district judge. Although the docket sheet reflects that an associate judge made findings that would support the termination of appellant D.L.M.'s parental rights, that apparently never was reduced to a final termination decree signed by the district judge. Instead, based on the identification of a previously unserved potential father, on January 26, 2017, the associate judge granted “a partial new trial in this cause number pertaining to the issues and matters concerning the Unknown Father only.” The same order stated: “The Court ORDERS all final judgments and/or orders rendered against the Respondent mother terminating her parental rights shall remain intact and shall be effected by this order.” A “Permanency Hearing Order” was signed on April 5, 2017, but that is a non-appealable temporary order. See TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 105.001(a)(1), (e); see, e.g., In the Interest of A.J., No. 02-11-00442-CV, 2012 WL 171262, at *1 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Jan. 19, 2012, no pet.) (per curiam) (mem. op.) (dismissing for want of jurisdiction appeal of permanency hearing order). Thus, we lack jurisdiction because the clerk's record does not indicate that any final termination decree has been entered with respect to appellant D.L.M., nor does it reflect that any other appealable order has been rendered. See, e.g., Smith v. Robertson, No. 01-15-00538-CV, 2015 WL 9311431, at *1 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 22, 2015, no pet.) (dismissing for want of jurisdiction appeal of refusal to sign order in SAPCR because records did not include final order) (citations omitted).

On April 28, 2017, the Clerk of this Court notified appellant D.L.M. that this appeal was subject to dismissal for want of jurisdiction unless appellant timely responded and showed how this Court had jurisdiction over this appeal. See TEX. R. APP. P. 42.3(a), (c). Appellant failed to timely file any response.

Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for want of jurisdiction. See TEX. R. APP. P. 42.3(a), (c); 43.2(f); In the Interest of A.J., 2012 WL 171262, at *1. We dismiss any pending motions as moot.


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