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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A trial court determined that Dwayne Walton had constructively abandoned his daughter and that his parental rights should be terminated. The order was signed on Jan. 15, and Walton filed a motion for new trial on Jan. 28. He filed a notice of appeal on Feb. 3, but he did not file his statement of points on appeal until Feb. 26, which was more than the 15 days specified in Family Code 263.405(b). Walton also filed an affidavit of inability to pay costs on appeal. The trial court had a hearing on the motion for new trial, but did not rule on it or on whether to sustain Walton’s claim of indigence or whether his appeal was frivolous. HOLDING:Appeal abated. Section 263.405 requires the trial court to hold a hearing within 30 days of the date the termination order was signed and to determine whether: “1. a new trial should be granted; 2. a party’s claim of indigence, if any, should be sustained; and 3. the appeal is frivolous[.]“ The trial court apparently was reluctant to make these rulings on the theory that it lacked jurisdiction in light of Walton’s untimely statement of points on appeal. A new issue for this court, the court joins the 2nd and 7th Courts of Appeal in holding that “an appeal from a termination order is perfected by the timely filing of a notice of appeal, and a late-filed statement of points on appeal does not deprive the appellate court of jurisdiction.” The court finds, however, that it cannot proceed until the trial court makes a ruling on whether the appeal is frivolous. OPINION:Speedlin, J.; Angelini, Marion and Speedlin, JJ.

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