Whether a memo order from the court is a “final order” for appellate deadline purposes

In the Interest of R.R.K. (Tex. 2019) (No. 18-0273)

Link the Court's Opinion

Facts:  Following a bench trial, the court issued a one-page memorandum with its ruling.  It contained a Mother Hubbard clause denying all relief not expressly granted but lacked information required by Family Code 105.006.  Both parties prepared final orders for entry, and the trial court later signed a 51-page order.  The question presented was whether the memorandum or the 51-page order was the final order for appellate deadline purposes.

Result:  Memorandum order lacked "clear and unequivocal" indicia of finality, necessitating an inquiry into the intent of the court and the parties.  The record showed that neither the court nor the parties intended for the memorandum to be the final order, as indicated by the lack of a possession schedule, required information under section 105.006, and the amount of child support offsets ordered.   Thus, mother's appeal was timely.