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In re Lee

Supreme Court of Texas
411 S.W.3d 445 (Tex. 2013)


Benjamin Redus (plaintiff) filed a petition against Stephanie Lee (defendant), seeking a change of custody of their minor daughter and alleging a material change in circumstances. Stephanie had been the child’s primary custodian until she relinquished care and possession of the child to Benjamin for approximately six months. Benjamin claimed that Stephanie’s poor parenting decisions had placed the child in danger, including an ongoing pattern of neglect and contact with Stephanie’s husband, Scott Lee, who was a registered sex offender. Benjamin requested an order (1) requiring that Stephanie’s contact with the child be supervised and (2) enjoining Stephanie from permitting the child to be within 20 miles of Scott and requiring Stephanie to timely provide Benjamin with Scott’s whereabouts in order to verify compliance with the 20-mile restriction. Prior to trial, Benjamin and Stephanie attended mediation, which culminated in a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) that provided Benjamin with custody of the child, gave Stephanie access to and possession of the child, and enjoined Scott from being within five miles of the child at all times. Benjamin and Stephanie agreed that the MSA was binding on both parties and not subject to revocation by either party. During a subsequent hearing before a trial court to approve the MSA, Benjamin provided testimony pertaining to the need for the mileage-restriction clause. The trial court refused to approve and enter a judgment on the MSA, reasoning that the agreement was not in the best interests of the minor child. Stephanie petitioned for a writ of mandamus. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Texas granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lehrmann, J.)

Concurrence (Guzman, J.)

Dissent (Green, J.)

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