In a recent memorandum opinion issued by a district court in Texas, the court dismissed one party’s claim because it decided there were no longer any issues to litigate in the state. Originally, a couple trying to get divorced filed claims in both Texas and Virginia and there was some confusion over where the divorce case should be heard. By the time the court of appeals issued its opinion, however, the couple had resolved all of the necessary issues about jurisdiction, and the Texas court dismissed the husband’s appeal.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the wife involved in this case first filed for divorce from her husband in Virginia in 2018. Later, she dropped the suit entirely, only for the husband to re-file for divorce three years later in Texas. At that point, it was unclear whether the divorce proceedings should take place in Virginia or Texas.
In the husband’s petition for divorce, he stated that he had been a resident of Texas for six months prior to filing for divorce. This was relevant for the court to know since a Texas divorce case can be filed in the county court where one of the parties has lived for the last 90 days as long as that party has also lived in Texas for at least six months.
After hearing evidence about the husband’s residence in Texas and the wife’s primary residence in Virginia, the Texas court dismissed the lawsuit altogether. The husband promptly appealed.
Jurisdiction is the power of a specific court to hear a specific case. In Texas, for example, the courts would not have jurisdiction to hold proceedings for a couple divorcing in Michigan that had no ties whatsoever to Texas. In this case, jurisdiction was an issue, meaning the parties were arguing about where the case should be held.
The court reviewing this appeal noted that jurisdiction of a divorce case depends on the place of residence of the parties involved. Also relevant here, said the court, was the fact that the husband and wife ended up privately agreeing that the proceedings should happen in Virginia instead of Texas. Both parties agreed to jurisdiction in Virginia, and thus there were no longer issues to be litigated in Texas.
The court, therefore, dismissed the case as “moot,” which means there are no active issues and there is nothing more for the court to decide. By dismissing the case as moot, the court essentially communicated that it no longer needed to make a decision about the case’s jurisdiction, and the parties were free to continue their case in Virginia.
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At Guest & Gray, we are experts on the procedural parts of family law so that you can be sure your case is in the best of hands. If you are looking for an attorney for your Texas child custody, child support, or divorce case, give us a call so that we can walk you through your various options. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 972-564-4644. You can also fill out our online form to get in touch with us.