The Texas Family Code provides that a receiver may be appointed to take control of certain assets in the middle of a Texas divorce proceeding. The standard for appointing a receiver is a relatively low bar – a receiver may be appointed “for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties”. [Texas Family Code section 6.502(a)(5)].  In fact, a receiver may be appointed to take charge of community or separate property of the parties.  [In re C.F.M., 360 S.W.3d 654 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012).] receiver 2

BEWARE, challenging the appointment of a receiver is reviewable by interlocutory appeal. This is one of the few times that interlocutory appeal applies in a Texas family law case!

An interlocutory appeal operates under accelerated deadlines, so the notice of appeal is due 20 days after the order appointing the receiver is signed by the judge. [Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 26.1(b).] An extension of this deadline may be requested. With the notice of appeal, the appellant must designate and request the clerk’s record and the reporter’s record, which must be filed within 10 days after the notice of appeal.   Then, the appellant’s brief is due 20 days after the records are filed.

Only orders appointing a receiver are appealable via interlocutory appeal. Other orders regarding receivership are not subject to interlocutory appeal such as: order denying appointment of receiver, order dissolving receivership, or order appointing successor receiver.

Seeking interlocutory appeal under the family code does not automatically stay the appointment of the receiver or trial of the case. The trial court maintains jurisdiction over the case and may proceed with the case in any matter necessary.

NOW HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART, failure to challenge the appointment of a receiver in a family law case by interlocutory appeal WAIVES the right to challenge.  [Sclafani v. Sclafani, 870 S.W.2d 608, 611 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st. Dist.] 1993, writ denied).]  Let me say this another way, an interlocutory appeal is the exclusive method of challenging the appointment of a receiver in a family law case.  General consensus is that the appointment of a receiver is moot after the trial is over.  [See Richards v. Mena, 820 S.W.2d 372 (Tex. 1991).]

This means that a lawyer and his or her client must decide super quickly whether to challenge the appointment of a receiver in a family law case – within 20 days or so! Otherwise, the right to complain is gone… forever. So, don’t let WAIVER DANGER happen to you!

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.