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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Sharon and Randall Keith were divorced in December 2002. In June 2003, Sharon sought to mediate some modifications to the divorce decree. Randall responded, but before mediation, Sharon filed an emergency petition on July 11 and asked the trial court to make temporary orders for the welfare of the couple’s children. Sharon got a temporary restraining order preventing Randall from taking the children on a cruise, which was scheduled for July 14 and which had been planned for since May. Sharon alleged that Randall spanked and isolated their autistic child and failed to take the child to therapy. She alleged Randall denied the children food, yelled at them frequently, returned the children to her with bad sunburns and unexplained bruises, and did not take the children to doctor’s appointments. The trial court dissolved the TRO on July 14 and Randall was allowed to take the children on the cruise. On July 30, Randall filed a motion for sanctions under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 13, alleging that Sharon’s emergency petition was groundless and brought in bad faith for the sole purpose of harassment. On Aug. 6, Randall filed a counter-petition to Sharon’s emergency petition seeking modification of the divorce decree and attorneys’ fees and expenses. Sharon nonsuited her emergency petition on Sept. 16. The trial court held two hearings on the motion for sanctions in October, and on July 12, 2004, the trial court entered an order granting Randall’s motion for sanctions and his counter-petition for modification. The trial court awarded attorneys’ fees to Randall and the children’s attorney ad litem, making the fees collectible as child support. The trial court also awarded attorneys’ fees for appeal. Though the trial court did not make specific findings that day to support his ruling on sanctions, it did file findings of fact and conclusions of law on Aug. 20, noting that Sharon’s allegations were “so disparate from the testimony received in open court,” that it was meant to deceive and mislead the court. Sharon appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed as modified. The court first establishes that the trial court’s July 12, 2004, ruling on the counter-petition was the trial court’s final ruling, even though it was filed nine months after the two October 2003 hearings, thus an appeal is permissible. The court next rejects Sharon’s argument that the trial court erred in granting Randall’s counter-petition because the trial court’s notice was deficient. The court notes both that Sharon failed to preserve this complaint for appeal, and that Sharon invited the error. At the October 2003 hearings, Sharon and her attorney urged the trial court to consider the hearings as the final ones in the case. Turning to the sanctions order itself, the court agrees with Sharon that a trial court’s failure to specify the good cause for sanctions in a sanction order may be an abuse of discretion, and that the order here did not recite the particular reasons supporting the order. Nonetheless, the trial court did enter findings of fact and conclusions of law that did recite the bases, so its error in omitting those findings from its order was harmless. The court then affirms the trial court’s finding on the merits that Sharon’s emergency petition was groundless and filed in bad faith. The court noted testimony from Randall, the children, the attorney ad litem and Sharon herself that contradicted her accusations against Randall in that petition. For instance, Sharon stated she did not have personal knowledge of the allegations she made in her supporting affidavit for the TRO. The court spends the rest of the opinion discussing attorneys’ fees and ad litem fees. To start, the court notes that while it is permissible to tax attorneys’ fees as child support, such a conversion can only result from a child-support enforcement proceeding. It can result, as here, from a proceeding to recoup costs and fees for defending Sharon’s emergency petition. The trial court’s characterization of the fees as child support was incorrect. The court also notes the trial court’s error in not specifying that the attorneys’ fees for appeal would be contingent upon Sharon’s failure at the appellate level. The court modifies that part of the order, but otherwise upholds the award of attorneys’ fees for appeal, noting that Sharon’s insistence that Randall’s attorney should have stated an exact dollar amount and the number of hours it would take to appeal the suit is not supported by any case law. The ad litem fees were properly awarded, too, the court finds. The ad litem clearly attempted to prove her request for fees the hours and the hourly amount. OPINION:Taft, J.; Taft, Keyes and Hanks, J.J. DISSENT:Keyes, J. “I believe the trial court clearly abused its discretion in awarding sanctions against Sharon and that the opinion of this Court affirming the trial court’s judgment will have a chilling effect on the willingness of parents concerned for the safety of their children to approach the family courts. I would hold that (1) the sanctions order, even when read together with the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, fails to state the grounds for sanctions with particularity, as required for Rule 13 sanctions, and that (2) even if the judgment survived that hurdle, Randall failed to carry his burden of proving that Sharon’s suit was either groundless and brought in bad faith or groundless and harassing.”

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