Case: Cortez v. Cortez, ___ S.W.3d ___, No. 01-19- 00296-CV, 2020 WL 7702187 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2020, no pet. h.) (12-29-20).
Facts: In June 2012, Father filed for divorce in Fort Bend County, where Mother, Father, and Children lived. In August 2012, Mother and Children moved to Mexico. The trial court subsequently entered an agreed divorce decree, which provided that Mother must return with Children to Fort Bend County by August 1, 2014, at which point Children’s primary residence would be restricted to Fort Bend County. In 2015, Father filed a modification suit and an enforcement action, arising out of Mother’s failure to return Children to Fort Bend County as contemplated by the agreed divorce decree. Mother filed a plea to the jurisdiction, alleging that the trial court no longer had continuing exclusive jurisdiction. In her supporting affidavit, Mother alleged, inter alia, that Children lived in Mexico, Children went to school in Mexico, and Father had only exercised possession of Children twice since they moved to Mexico. Thereafter, the trial court signed an order declining to exercise jurisdiction over the issues of conservatorship and pos-session and access. Father appealed. Holding: Affirmed Opinion: Father argues that the trial court erred in declining to exercise jurisdiction over the issues of conservatorship and possession and access.
Under the UCCJEA, the trial court, as a court that has made an initial child-custody determination, had continuing exclusive jurisdiction unless and until it determined “that neither the child[ren], nor the child[ren] and one parent…have a significant connection with [Texas] and that substantial evidence is no longer available in [Texas] concerning the child[ren]’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.”
Here, evidence was presented that Mother and Children moved to Mexico in August 2012, where they have resided ever since. There was also evidence presented that Father had only exercised possession of Children twice since they moved to Mexico in 2012. There is no evidence in the record that, since moving to Mexico, Children have had friends or other family members in Texas that they have