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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellant, Patsy Jean Johnson, challenges: 1. the jurisdiction of the trial court to grant appellee Wayne Ventling’s motion to vacate a decree of divorce between the parties; and 2. the trial court’s denial of Johnson’s motion to enforce contractual alimony terms of the decree. To avert criminal prosecution for collecting, throughout her 13-year cohabitation with Ventling, federal widow’s benefits that stop if she marries, Johnson now stipulates that Ventling and she were never husband and wife. At the same time, she argues she is entitled to the community property rights of a spouse. Having filed suit in 1995 to dissolve the parties’ common-law marriage, Ventling now seeks to avoid his contractual obligations to Johnson. HOLDING:Dismissed for want of jurisdiction. Johnson contends that by 2001, the trial court’s plenary jurisdiction over the 1995 decree had long expired. The judgment signed July 25, 2001, she concludes, is void. Ventling counters that the decree only recited that the “relationship” between the parties was dissolved and did not grant a divorce. Since the decree effected only a property division, not a divorce, he contends it was interlocutory. He asserts, therefore, that principles of finality have no bearing on the alimony provisions in the decree. Rather, he argues, principles of contract law govern enforceability of the agreement. Ventling adds that if the decree was in fact a final order, Johnson’s appeal must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction since Johnson did not timely appeal the order denying enforcement of the decree signed on Jan. 9, 1998. If, however, the decree was interlocutory, Ventling concludes, the 2001 judgment is adequately supported by the record. The decree dissolved the “relationship” between the parties and ordered an agreed division of their property. It is regular on its face. The court finds that the decree settled all legal issues and rights between the parties. The court holds that the 1995 “Final Decree of Divorce” was a final divorce judgment and not interlocutory at the time the trial court signed the 2001 judgment. The court finds that the decree contained findings sufficient to establish the jurisdictional basis for a valid judgment. The court concludes that the decree is not void and may not be collaterally attacked. The court holds that Ventling’s challenge to the enforceability of the decree in this proceeding amounted to an impermissible collateral attack. Neither of the parties appealed the decree or filed any motion that extended the trial court’s plenary power. The court holds that the trial court lost plenary power over the decree 30 days after signing it. After expiration of its plenary jurisdiction, the trial court retained only its inherent power to clarify or enforce the 1995 decree. By vacating the decree, the trial court effectively changed the division of property. The court holds that the trial court had no authority to enter an order altering or modifying the original disposition of property. Judicial action taken after a trial court’s jurisdiction has expired is a nullity. State ex rel. Latty v. Owens, 907 S.W.2d 484 (Tex. 1995) (per curiam). A party may but need not appeal a void judgment. The court declares the judgment void and dismisses for lack of jurisdiction. The court holds that the trial court had no jurisdiction to sign the 2001 judgment vacating the 1995 decree. The court holds that the July 25, 2001, judgment is void. The court’s jurisdiction extends no further than that of the court from which the appeal is taken. The court holds that the court has no jurisdiction to consider this appeal. OPINION:Castillo, J.; Hinojosa, Castillo and Chavez, JJ.

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