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Family Law No. 01-02-01016-CV, 4/10/2003. Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: This is an appeal from a family violence protective order. The appellant argues that the trial court erred in refusing to transfer venue, in issuing a protective order on a defective application, in admitting evidence of violations of a prior protective order, and in issuing a protective order which effectively terminated access to his child without a finding that such was in the best interest of the child. HOLDING: Affirmed. Several Texas courts of appeals have addressed the issue of whether protective orders rendered under the Family Code are appealable orders. The court agrees with those courts holding that a protective order disposing of all parties and claims is a final, appealable order, while a protective order entered during the pendency of a divorce action is not. This case is in an in-between posture: While the divorce action between the parties had long been concluded before the trial court issued the protective order, Wife’s motion to modify parent-child relationship and her petition to enforce child support order were pending at the time the application for the protective order was filed. Thus, the court must determine whether the pendency of those claims, like the pendency of an original action for divorce, prevented the protective order from being a final, appealable order. Because Wife nonsuited her motion to modify seven days after the protective order was issued, the pendency of that motion ceased to be any potential bar to the appealability of the protective order at that time. Thus, the court has jurisdiction to review the protective order unless the pending petition for enforcement of child support prevented the protective order from becoming final and appealable. Under the reasoning of several Texas courts of appeals, a protective order that does not dispose of all issues and claims is not a final, appealable order. The court does not believe, however, that the mere existence of anypending issues between the parties renders a protective order interlocutory. Unlike an original divorce action, SAPCR [Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship], or a motion to modify a previous SAPCR order, a petition to enforce child support is not a “new suit,” but rather an action to enforce a prior judgment. This distinction is significant. Actions for divorce or for a SAPCR seek to establish the parameters of future contact or depend on evidence of past contact between the parties. A petition for enforcement of child support, by contrast, does not raise or seek to adjudicate issues of contact between family members, and does not depend upon evidence of past contacts between family members to resolve the issue presented. The only issue in a petition to enforce is whether there is a child support arrearage. A protective order under the Family Code is more akin to a divorce or a SAPCR than to a child support enforcement action. It logically follows that a protective order issued during the pendency of a divorce or a SAPCR is not a final, appealable order, because similar issues remain to be determined between the parties. Its purpose is to protect some members of the family from violence at the hands of other members of the family by imposing restrictions upon contact between those family members for a time certain. Because of the differences between a protective order and an action for enforcement of child support, it makes little sense to hold that the pendency of the latter cause should render the former order interlocutory and unappealable. The court concludes that the court has jurisdiction to review the protective order because the still pending issue between the parties to collect past-due child support is not related in any way to the purpose, issues or evidence relevant to the protective order. The court further holds that the trial court did not err in refusing to transfer venue of the protective order proceeding, and that the husband has failed to preserve his other issues for appellate review in this court. OPINION: Hedges, J.; Hedges, Jennings and Alcala, JJ.

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