Exclusive Jurisdiction After Court Transfer Order Cases

In Kirby v. Chapman, 917 S.W.2d 902, 907 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 1996, no writ), the appellant complained on direct appeal of an invalid transfer order. See 917 S.W.2d at 907. There, the divorce decree served as the final order establishing the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction. See id. Likewise, the appellants in Johnson v. Pettigrew, 786 S.W.2d 45 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1990, no writ) and Mendez v. Attorney General, 761 S.W.2d 519 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1988, no writ) challenged the courts' judgments by direct appeal after raising their objections at trial. See Johnson, 786 S.W.2d at 46; Mendez, 761 S.W.2d at 521. It appears that the parties in both Johnson were never married; thus, in those cases the judgments in the suits for establishment of paternity--rather than final decrees of divorce--served as the final orders establishing the court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction. See Johnson, 786 S.W.2d at 45-46; Mendez, 761 S.W.2d at 520. Next, Ex parte Bowers, 671 S.W.2d 931 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 1984, no writ) involved an original habeas corpus proceeding whereby a father attempted to set aside a judgment holding him in contempt of court, arguing that the case was improperly transferred. See 671 S.W.2d at 933-34. The court of appeals held that even though the transfer order was erroneous, it was not void. And consistent with the view here, the court in Bowers held that the judgment rendered by the latter court was not subject to collateral attack by the father's application for writ of habeas corpus on the basis of an improper transfer. See id. at 936. The court in Grimes v. Harris, 695 S.W.2d 648 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1985, no writ) expressly held that the controversy there did not involve a question of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction in suits affecting the parent-child relationship. See Grimes, 695 S.W.2d at 650. In Grimes, the court was presented with two contemporaneous proceedings in two separate courts. Because no final order had been entered in either proceeding, no court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction had been established. Thus, the question was instead one of dominant jurisdiction.