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In the Interest of Brilliant
Texas Court of Appeals
86 S.W.3d 680 (2002)
Kristen Fox (plaintiff) and Reginald Brilliant (defendant), unmarried, had a child together, Kaylee Brilliant. Kristen, Reginald, and Kaylee lived together in Massachusetts for less than a year before Reginald moved to Texas. Kristen and Kaylee joined him following Kristen’s high-school graduation. After the move, Kristen signed Reginald’s apartment lease, applied for jobs, transferred Kaylee’s medical records, and notified Social Security that Kaylee was in Texas. Kaylee developed a strong relationship with Reginald’s Texas family. Shortly after, Kristen informed Reginald she was returning to Massachusetts. Reginald filed a custody suit and obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the move, but Kristen and Kaylee moved anyway. Kristen and Kaylee were in Texas a total of 45 days. Kristen did not substantively answer Reginald’s custody suit and only entered a plea challenging jurisdiction, claiming Massachusetts was Kaylee’s home state because her absence was only temporary. The Texas court denied Kristen’s jurisdictional challenge and granted Reginald’s motion for default judgment, giving Reginald sole legal and physical custody of Kaylee and Kristen visitation rights. Kristen appealed, arguing Texas lacked subject-matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and challenging the default judgment for lack of notice.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McClure, J.)
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