Texas Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court Decision in Marriage Dispute

In a recent case involving a final decree of divorce between the appellant, Tomecia L. Wright, and the appellee, De Joran R. Wright, the appellate court affirmed the trial court decision. The parties married in December 2012 and have one daughter.

Facts of the Case

The couple resided in Dalhart, where De Joran was a coach and teacher for the school district. Four years later, they separated. Tomecia, who was unemployed at the time, left and took their child to Houston, ostensibly for vacation. De Joran contacted her seeking to help her find employment, at which point she refused to return to Dalhart, and he initiated divorce proceedings. She avoided service for several months, preventing De Joran from visiting his daughter for approximately six months, eventually filing a counterpetition for divorce. Shortly thereafter, the trial court held a hearing and issued temporary orders and a writ of attachment for the child to be returned to De Joran.

Tomecia then settled in Humble, and De Joran moved to Palestine, an approximately two-hour drive from Humble, to assist a family member experiencing medical issues. He continued to teach and coach, supplementing his income with odd jobs. Nearly five years after the temporary hearing, a final divorce hearing was held. De Joran was represented by counsel and Tomecia appeared pro se. At the hearing, the trial court granted the parties a divorce and appointed them joint managing conservators, with De Joran receiving the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence. The court also ordered Tomecia to pay child and medical support. The marital estate was awarded to the party in possession and De Joran was awarded his full retirement benefits. Tomecia then filed an appeal, making nine claims.

The Decision

On appeal, she contended that (1) the trial court precluded her from presenting evidence that De Joran had abused their child, (2) her constitutional rights were violated when the trial court ordered a mental examination and social study, (3) conservatorship and custody should have been awarded to her, (4) child support and other financial obligations were not properly calculated, (5) she should have been awarded half of De Joran’s retirement benefits, (6) venue was proper in Palestine, Texas,(7) she was denied the right to submit a proposed final decree, (8) De Joran should have been precluded from offering any evidence, and (9) there was administrative misconduct in preparation of the clerk’s record.

Regarding her first claim, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision regarding evidence, finding that it fell within the zone of reasonable disagreement. On her second claim, the appellate court held that her complaint on appeal did not comport with her trial testimony, waiving her ability to make her claim. On her third issue, the court found that based on the evidence presented at trial, there could be no finding that the trial court abused its discretion, overruling her claim. On her fourth issue, the court ruled that the trial court’s findings were supported by the evidence submitted, overruling her claim. On her fifth issue, the appeals court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion, overruling her claim. On her sixth issue, the appeals court found that the venue was proper, overruling her claim. On her seventh issue, the appeals court found that she failed to cite an authority in her claim, overruling the claim. On her eighth issue, the appeals court found that she did not raise her objections at trial and was thus precluded from raising them on appeal, overruling her claim. On her ninth issue, the appeals court found that the claim was made without appropriate authority and overruled her claim.

Are You Facing Divorce or Family Law Issues in Texas?

If you are in the process of going through a Texas divorce, call our experienced Dallas County family law attorneys at Guest & Gray. We offer unparalleled and skillful legal representation that gets you through the toughest times, and we will work tirelessly until you receive the results you need. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 972-564-4644.

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